Do we really need 'use-by' dates on milk?

·1-min read
Can rgetting rid of 'use-by' dates reduce food waste?

Bye-bye to 'use-by' dates on milk bottles?! In the United Kingdom, the Morrisons supermarket chain wants people to look to their common sense rather than a date on a package in a bid to reduce food waste. From now on, the store's UK consumers will have to rely on their nose to check if the milk is expired or still safe to drink.

In the United Kingdom, some 330,000 tons of milk go to waste every year. That's 7% of British production, according to 2018 figures from food waste reduction charity Wrap relayed by The Guardian newspaper. It's the third most thrown away food, after potatoes and bread.

In an effort to minimize this waste, the retailer Morrisons has come up with the idea of no longer indicating a use-by date starting at the end of January. The retail chain wants to encourage consumers to sniff their milk bottles and check if they smell "off" or ok before drinking them. Morrissons plans to implement the initiative on its own-brand milk products.

However, the milk cartons will still have a date. It will not be an expiration date, but rather a best-before date. The difference is that milk can generally be consumed safely many days after this date. This information simply indicates that a food product may no longer have its optimal taste or nutritional qualities.

While it may seem to be a surprising move, it's not totally new. Morrisons stores already chose to remove the use-by dates on yogurts and hard cheeses in 2020.

Bérangère Chatelain

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