Woman eating yogurt

How to tell if food is still good to eat

As food prices keep rising, we don’t want to throw away anything good

The cost of our supermarket shop is still going up so it’s important to know when food is still good to eat so we don’t waste anything.

Dates on food packaging can make us feel like we’re risking our health if we ignore them.

But best-before dates just mean the product might not taste its best if we eat it after the date.

Use-by dates are concerned with the safety of the product after that date has passed.

But in a bid to cut the amount of milk we waste, retailers like Morrisons and M&S have recently ditched use-by dates on their bottles.

They want us to use our judgement to decide whether it’s okay to consume.

That’s because it’s relatively easy to tell if milk is off – a simple sniff should tell us. Or we can ask someone else if our sense of smell isn’t great.

The same goes for yoghurt. Like milk, as long as it’s been stored in the fridge, if it looks and smells fine it’s probably fine to eat even if it’s use-by date is passed.

And keeping bread in the fridge can help it last beyond its use-by date. This may affect the taste though, and as soon as we see or smell any sign of mould then it’s definitely time to throw it out.

With eggs that are past their date, a quick dunk in a bowl of water will tell us if they’re still good. A bad egg will float (because so much air has got in through its shell) but a good one will sink.

Food inflation easing

These foods all give us clues when they’re no longer good to eat.

It’s important to remember though that other foods, like meat or poultry, may look and smell fine after their use-by date but would make us ill if we ate them. 

Waste-fighting charity WRAP said the most wasted foods are milk, potatoes and bread. Each household pours 18 pints of milk down the sink each year – mainly just because of the use-by date.

And finally there’s some good news about food prices.

Supermarket Morrisons is cutting the price of 47 products by about a quarter. Products that are now starting to come down in price include tomatoes, mince, cereals and squash.

Another 1,000 products are being price-frozen.

It’s a sign that inflation is easing a bit. But all this means for now is that prices are rising less quickly than before. The cost of our food shop is still going up so we’ll still have to look for ways to save.

Morrisons has also promised to stock its Savers range in its smaller convenience stores. Typically, these stores don’t offer as much choice at the lower end of the price range but shoppers who don’t have a car often have no choice but to use them.

Image: Tirachard Kumtanom / Pexels

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