Use by v. Best Before v. Sell by v. Display until

What is the difference between the different dates manufacturers and shops put on food?

Well, essentially, Sell by and Display until are nonsense. They are simply there as a calculation by the shop of how long the food will look good!

What matters, and the only one with any legal validity, is Use By. This is about the safety of the food, not its appearance. If food is being sold after its Use By date, then the retailer is committing an offence.

Here is a handy little summary gleaned from the Food Standards Agency website (

“‘Best before’ dates relate to food quality, including taste, texture and appearance. Eating food past its ‘best before’ date is unlikely to be harmful.

‘Use by’ date are the most important date for people to consider, as these relate to food safety.

While it is an offence to sell food after the ‘use by’ date, retailers can, with the exception of eggs, sell products after the ‘best before’ date, providing it is safe to eat. Eggs have a ‘best before’ date, but should not be eaten after the date shown on the label.

Retailers often use ‘sell by’ and ‘display until’ dates on their shelves, but these are not required by law and are used mainly for stock control purposes.”

Clearer? Good. Don’t want anyone getting ill over the festive season.

Bon Appetit and Happy New Year.


New website to make complaining easier

In case you do not listen to Moneybox on Radio 4, you may not have heard about a new website that has been set up to make the process of complaining to major UK organisations easier. They have a database of 1000 firms, including, utilities, services and major high street brands, and they will guide you through the complaints process. They even draft the letters for you and email you when it’s time to chase them up again.

If anyone decides to give it a go, please let me know how you get on. Otherwise, next time I have an issue, I’ll give it a go and report back.

In the meantime, here’s the link: The Resolver.

Good news for those lower down the supply chain

New regulations may soon come into force that will allow for fines to be doled out to supermarkets who squeeze their suppliers too tightly.

Supermarkets bow to pressure on “offers”

As any canny shopper knows, supermarket offers are not always as good as they seem.  We all know full well they fiddle the figures, with multi buys costing more than individual items, prices rising to justify subsequent cuts, and so on.

Well, after mentions on BBC Watchdog and research by the Office of Fair Trading, finally the rules have changed.

Interestingly, Asda have NOT signed up to this agreement to make offers fair and transparent.

Thought you’d like to know.

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