In hospitality, is it safe to use food that’s after its best before date?

Got stock that’s near its best before date? Les Mohammed, Senior Trading Controller at Unitas Wholesale, shares how we can all reduce waste

“COVID-19 and lockdown have been costly for the catering industry in many ways. So now we’re re-opening, it’s more important than ever to look at ways we can save money and cut down on unnecessary waste.

“I’m sure lots of you have had stock laying idle over the past few months that is now close to its best before date. Please remember that this labelling is not like ‘use by’, you have much more flexibility with ‘best before.’”

What’s the law? Is it safe?

“From a legal and health and safety point of view, if the item is still good quality, it’s perfectly safe to use after the best before date. Look out for any damaged packaging or obvious signs of something going stale but, if there are no issues with that, you’re good to go. Using your common sense is important.

“Environmentally, we want to reduce our waste as much as possible as well. No one wants to see good food on landfill.”

How long can we extend the best before date?

“The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has put together guidelines for how long you can safely keep products after their best before date. This has been approved by the Food Standards Agency and Defra so you can be confident in knowing you’re doing the right thing.

“For more detailed information on storage advice and labelling, go to the WRAP website to read the Redistribution Labelling Guide.”

Les Mohammed, Senior Trading Controller at Unitas Wholesale
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