Last updated: 20.04.11

Use by dates 'not to do with food hygiene standards'

A change in the way that manufacturers put use by dates on their products should come about in the UK in order to reduce wastage, it has been claimed.

Sam Jarvis, head of communications at Waste Watch, said a shift in attitudes should take place, whereby Brits should become aware that use by dates are not a sign that food hygiene has been lost for the product, instead it is simply a measure of when the food should remain perfect.

He commented: "For too long consumers have been left bewildered by the array of different labels on food products, which has contributed to around a third of the food we buy being needlessly wasted."

According to recent reports across the UK, new guidance for retailers will make it clear that the 'best before' date on produce is a guide to food quality rather than whether food has become dangerous to eat.

Indeed, the guidance is expected to recommend retailers clearly label when perishable foods will become dangerous with a use by date, while minimising use of the 'best before' date.