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Best Before vs Use By

Best Before vs Use By

Let's bust the myths on these terms by explaining the difference between the two and why one is used as a marketing ploy to push and drive sales.

Unlike ‘use by’ dates, ‘best before’ dates are solely recommendations about food quality, not about food safety.

Meaning food past their best before are completely safe to consume and get wasted a lot because of this mis-understanding. Companies tend to have short best before dates to make sure customers frequently buy their products when in reality, most things are completely fine to use months past their best before and you probably would never know the difference. This especially applies to dried goods such as pasta, rice and beans. Tinned goods are often unaffected months past their best before and even things like alternative milk are still perfectly fine to use. 

Use by dates still should be stuck too for the most part. The food is no longer guaranteed to be safe to consume after the printed dates but if you've been storing product correctly, this usually has a day or two depending on what it is. For example, the hummus you opened four days ago but the packet said use within three days, is likely fine for another dip. Use your your nose! You can usually very quickly tell if a product should no longer be consumed. Fermented products such as tempeh or meat are definitely best to play it safe with and stick to the dates given.

We say use the best before as a suggestion and the use by dates should be given the sniff test before discarding.