November 17, 2010 11.41 am This story is over 163 months old

Know your labels, bin less food

Eat by: Lincolnshire County Council are helping people get to grips with sell by dates, to stop food being binned unnecessarily.

Lincolnshire County Council and WRAP aim to reduce the amount of food wasted in the county with a campaign explaining the meaning behind the labels.

The Love Food, Hate Waste campaign recently saw TV chef Richard Fox cook up recipes using leftover food at the Lincoln Farmers’ Market.

However, a big problem contributing to the UK’s 8.3 million tonnes of wasted food is Sell By, Use By and Display Until dates on food packaging.

Executive Member for Waste Services Lewis Strange said: “On average, about a quarter of the food we buy is thrown away.

“Understanding the difference between ‘Best Before’ and ‘Use By’ dates can help and we’ve teamed up with WRAP to highlight some mouth-watering recipes – it’s amazing what you can rustle up with leftover food!”

Meanings behind the dates

According to the Food Standards Agency, the meaning of the dates are as follows:

Use By: Never eat a product after the date, and follow instructions carefully. Often found on chilled products such as cooked meats, soft cheeses and dairy-based desserts.

Best Before: Foods with this are safe to eat after the date on the label but may not taste as great as if it had been eaten beforehand; it’s still safe to eat though. Eggs are the only exception.

Display Until and Sell By: This date is usually next to Use By or Best Before dates, but is for staff in shops rather than shoppers, so only check this if an item is reduced.

Lydia Rusling from Tastes of Lincolnshire, added: “Lincolnshire is proud of its food, so we hope the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign will help us all make a positive difference to the amount of food we waste.

“Cheese is a good example; after feeding and milking the cows, cooling and transporting the milk, processing it in to cheese, packing it and getting it to the shops, what a shame it would be if its next destination is the bin, especially when it’s so versatile for other dishes.”

Source: Lincolnshire County Council