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Confusion around date labels often leads to food being thrown away when it’s still good to eat. We’re on hand to clear things up! 

The use by date found on products like meat relates to food safety. These foods can be eaten and frozen up until this date. Best before dates however relate to the peak freshness of the food, meaning that these products may well be good to eat after this date. You can often let your senses decide.

Understanding date labels

Pasta

Pasta

Dried pasta can stay fresh for up to three years after its best before. Make sure to store in a cool, dark place, and you could still be saying buon appetito in 2023.

Milk

Milk

Trust your nose! Milk can last four to seven days after its best before date, but only if it has been stored properly. The temperature of the fridge door can fluctuate, so keep it cold by storing it at the back of the middle shelf. Look out for a sour smell or a lumpy texture to check if it’s gone bad.

Milk
Eggs

Eggs

Official guidance says that British eggs can still be eaten two days after their best before date once they’re cooked through. Want to check how fresh your eggs are? Place your eggs in a bowl of cold water - If they float to the surface, give them a miss.

Bread

Bread

The UK throws away 20 million slices of bread a day, but can last from two to seven days after its best before date. Stale bread can be toasted, made into breadcrumbs, croutons, crisps or transformed into a scrumptious dessert.

Bread
Biscuits and chocolate

Biscuits and chocolate

Sweet treats past their best before are not to be sniffed at. Biscuits can last up to six months after the best before. If the texture of your chocolate has changed or your biscuits have a slight bend, seek a happy home in a new dessert. Think cheesecake base or a chocolate biscuit cake.

Fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables

Trust your senses when it comes to fruit and vegetables. You should be able to clearly see and feel when they are past their best, and a little softness or blemish is fine. You can cut around imperfections or cook lightly to put the spring back in their step.

Fruit and vegetables
Cheese

Cheese

Hard cheeses often come with a best before date but many argue that they get better with age. Hard or dried out edges can be trimmed back. With soft cheeses, trust your nose and taste – if there is mould or a sour smell or taste it’s a no-go.

Frozen

Frozen food

Some of our Lidl products will have a freezing label on the packaging. This means they are suitable for freezing and can be frozen up till their use by date. Food can remain frozen indefinitely and technically be safe to eat. However, after three to six months it may deteriorate in quality. For more guidance on freezing and how to safely defrost, check out our tips.

Frozen

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