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How long can you eat food items after their Best Before date?

WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) has recently released new guidance highlighting that food past its Best Before date remains safe and perfectly good to eat for days, weeks, months or even years after the date – depending on the type of food, and if it has been stored correctly.

This week is the first-ever, Food Waste Action Week (11th – 17th May 2020). The awareness-raising week has been organised as part of the governments drive to reduce the 4.5 million tonnes of food wasted in the UK every year.

Before the need for social distancing measures our free, weekly Community Meals were made from surplus food that would have otherwise been wasted. Now that food, which our volunteers collect from supermarkets and businesses is going to good use in the nutritious food parcels we are delivering to vulnerable people. 

Some of the food that is donated to FoodCycle or collected by our volunteers is past it’s Best Before date. We can use this food, as ‘Best Before’ is just an advisory date. 

We know food waste is an issue that many of our volunteers and supporters care about. There is a simple change you can make to reduce your contribution to the food waste mountain. 

We’ve broken down the guidance for you into some easily digestible points. All of these dates are advisory and only if the product has not gone mouldy. 

  • Tinned beans can be eaten up to three years after their Best Before date
  • Bread that has been packaged, can be eaten a week after its Best Before date, provided it has not gone mouldy
  • A packaged cake can be eaten three months after its Best Before date 
  • Crisps, provided they are not stale, can be eaten up to three months after their Best Before date
  • Some fruits and vegetables can be eaten a week after their Best Before date
  • Biscuits and Cereals can be eaten up to six months after their Best Before dates
  • Canned goods and pasta sauces can be eaten up to a year after their Best Before date
  • Dried pasta can be eaten up to three years after its Best Before date
  • Jams can be eaten from three to five years after their Best Before date

You can read the full WRAP guidelines here.

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