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Food labelling is extremely confusing
Much of the food we throw away in our kitchens is still #PerfectlyGood to eat, but many of us are confused by food labelling and misinterpret how long certain foods can last, before they become inedible. View our infographic to find out more about the state of the nation.
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Food labelling guide
Food labels you should pay attention to:
‘Best Before’ means your food is theoretically at its best before the date printed on the package. ‘Best Before’ relates to the optimal quality of the food (how it will taste, look etc.) and is not related to safety. Food that has gone past its ‘best before’ date is still good to eat, with dates often being subjective in nature.
Product examples: Tinned food, jars, packets, bottles, pouches.
‘Use By’ IS about food safety. It is illegal to sell foods past their ‘Use By’ dates and they could potentially affect your health.
Product examples: Fresh meat, raw fish & seafood, dairy products (excl. hard cheeses).
‘Sell By’ and ‘Display until’ are very confusing but ultimately nothing to do with you! These are very confusing but ultimately nothing to do with you! These are instructions for the retailers. They state when items should be sold and/or taken off the shelves. These don’t relate to the product quality.
Now that you know how to read the labels on your food, how should you store it? Try these top tips to keep your food #PerfectlyGood for longer.
Improve your wrapping skills
Food that arrives in shrink-wrapping lasts far longer if you keep it in its original wrapping. This is mainly applicable to fresh fruit and vegetables. You can buy food vacuum sealers but they’re a little pricey. A cheaper way to do it is to put food in zip seal plastic bags and suck the air out with a straw, to keep it tightly packed. Seal the bag quickly though so no more air gets in! *Sources: H/T Spoon University.
Split and save
Separate food and freeze in batches. That way, you only cook the amount you need.
It’s easy to freeze
You’d be surprised what you can freeze. Butter and margarine, grated cheese, bread, cooked rice, cakes, soups and even wine can all go in the freezer.
How long does it last?
A surprising number of foods can last well after their ‘best before’ date. Take a look at which items can stay perfectly good for longer.
Store in a cupboard away from direct sunlight. If it gets cloudy or crystalised, fill a bowl with warm water and put the jar or bottle in the water bath until clear. Length of time is FOREVER!
Solid chocolate (e.g. bars, chips)
Store your in a heavy duty box (chocolate absorbs odours from other foods easily) and freeze. Length of time is up to 8 months.
Jams (open and unopened)
If it’s unopened, it can stay in the cupboard. Once opened, keep it in the fridge. Length of time is 8 months - 1 year.
Unopened carbonated drink cans (e.g. cola, fizzy orange, fizzy water)
Store in a cupboard or the fridge. Length of time is 8 months - 1 year.
Unopened canned vegetables and soup
Store in a cupboard away from direct sunlight. Length of time is 1-2 years.
Place in an airtight container and freeze. Length of time is 1-2 years.
Raw white rice
Store in a cupboard away from direct sunlight. Length of time is 5 years.