Are you sitting down?
Yogurt with a best before date of today is still good (and safe) to eat for seven to 10 days (open or unopened)!
Reading best before dates as expiry dates probably contributes to food waste and “every year a staggering one-third — 1.3 billion tonnes — of the world’s food is wasted after it has been harvested: 45 per cent of fruit and vegetables, 35 per cent of fish and seafood, 30 per cent of cereals, 20 per cent of dairy products and 20 per cent of meat.”
Let’s change that.
Best before dates have to do with food quality — freshness, texture, flavor and nutritional value — not safety. They are not expiry dates.
I suspect not confusing “best before” with “expired” will lead to these three things:
- You’ll waste less food.
- You’ll save money.
- You’ll avoid sending food waste to the landfill, which contributes to increasing methane emissions and significantly adds to our climate change woes.
How long after a best before date can I safely eat eggs, milk, mustard, cereal, etc.?
- LoveFoodHateWaste.ca shares storage time limits, e.g., you can consume eggs one month after the best before date.
- EatbyDate.com explains how long food lasts.
- Fix.com shares a pantry guide for dry goods.
What happens to food after its best before date?
After the best before date has passed, food may lose some freshness and flavour and texture may change. Some foods lose nutritional value, e.g., contain less vitamin C.
You can buy and eat foods after their best before dates have passed. (I use them to my advantage and enjoy best before sales at the grocery store!)
Where will you see best before dates?
Best before dates are only required on foods that stay fresh for 90 days or less. Some things have them that don’t need them, like bottled water!
Only a few foods — like infant formula and formulated liquid diets — actually have expiry dates.
Note: Always avoid leaky or bulging canned goods.
What surprised you about best before dates?
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green