When “sell by” dates were first introduced in the 1970s, they were used as a stock control aid and became a marker of food safety. As time passed, however, the use of “best before” and “use by” dates served another use: they helped to control food intake of customers — which led consumers to get rid of food that was perfectly fine.
Photo credit: Cooking Light
You may have trusted these “use by” dates for your entire life, but it’s important to take note and understand the nature of food preservation. Because of its acidity, yoghurt can actually be eaten months after its supposed “best before” date, and cheddar cheese only improves with age. Dark chocolate can also last months and even years after its printed expiry date, provided it has been stored in appropriate conditions.
Photo credit: Golden Age Cheese
As a result of “best before” dates, huge amounts of unnecessary waste has been produced over these decades. The next time you’re about to throw away something because it has “expired”, take notice of the food itself, and don’t rely on these dates to tell you what to eat and when to eat your food.