You don’t really need to throw out that food

You might shudder at the thought of drinking milk after its use by date has expired, but experts say unless

You might shudder at the thought of drinking milk after its use by date has expired, but experts say unless it’s letting off a pungent smell there’s nothing to worry about.

Head Chef of OzHarvest Travis Harvey says you should be able to eat most foods after they have ‘gone off’ as the use-by-dates and best before dates on many products are precautions rather than stedfast rules.

According to Food Standards Australia, “foods should not be eaten after the use by date and can’t legally be sold after this date because they may pose a health or safety risk.”

However,Travis says people need to understand the difference between ‘best before’ dates and ‘use by’ dates.

“I would use milk if its past the date if it still smells fine,” Mr Harvey told News Corp.

“I would do the same with yoghurt as well.”

He says there is a “fair bit of leeway” when it comes to items like this and that having a good sniff of the product should be able to tell you if its gone off or not.

While many people would avoid buying or eating anything that had mould on it, Mr Harvey reckons there’s nothing to be worried about.

“I don’t think people know how to choose fruit these days,” Mr Harvey said.

“Just because there’s mould on a strawberry, doesn’t mean you should throw out the whole punnet. Throw out the off one, and thoroughly wash the good ones.”

For fruit and vegetables, consumers should check mould and cut it off, because a bit of blemish doesn’t mean the whole product is ruined.

“As soon as a piece of fruit or veg has a blemish, we often think to just throw it out. But I tend to trim off the bad bit, and see what it’s like after the mould has been removed.”

With the reports revealing Australian households waste 20 per cent of their weekly shopping food every week, there are calls for people to think more carefully about what they purchase and throw out.

Would you eat something after its best before or use by date? How much food do you throw out every week?

  1. I do all the time, in fact i found an English jelly in the back of the pantry use by nov2014 which I made up and ate this week. It was yum, strawberry!

    • Jisemy  

      Agree and as it is mainly sugar which is a preservative, I do the same thing. I think if I took a look in my pantry there would be a couple of jelly packs that are older than that

  2. Jisemy  

    Never go by use by dates, my nose and eyes will tell me if a food is off. Recently my hubby’s bottle of full cream milk was use by 20th Feb and he kept using until the 26th and then you could just tell it was about to turn and chucked the rest about 1/2 cup. We rarely waste food. I have a bottle of sesame oil in my pantry that I use occasionally for a particular recipe with a use by date of 2003. We have never suffered any form of upset tummy. Far too much waste today

  3. I’ve always followed this rule of thumb.

    It’s the younger generation that biff everything out if it’s past the use by date.
    My son and his wife were aghast at some of my herbs and spices in bottles. I got very cross.

  4. Melissa  

    Husband’s a Food Scientist.
    If I in doubt re:use by date, I get him to smell it.

    Just finished a bottle of milk dated 20/2/2016, it was kept in ‘coolest’ part of fridge, tasted fine.

  5. Janis Thomas  

    Always go by smell. Might taste fruit or veggie just to make sure it’s okay.

  6. Maryanna  

    Unfortunately the younger generation have lost the ability of comonsense and making their own decisions, everything needs a sign on it or instructions otherwise they have no idea what to do. Having said that it is not entirely their fault, we have created that situation with all our do gooding ideas to “protect” our safety .

    • Carole  

      The only things I am always very careful about are fish/seafood and chicken. All other things I use my nose.

  7. Best before date is only a guide some products are still ok months after, I always smell and try if it doesn’t smell off it’s ok.

  8. Eleanor Norman  

    I’m still eating yoghurt “use by the 9th” and it’s now the 24. When cream goes sour use it for your mashed potatoes. Just like buying sour cream.

  9. JAY  

    We never had useby dates when we were growing up , and well into adulthood , but we have all survived . My Mum had a jar of vegemite 10 years out of date!

    • Rozlyn Conway  

      My family look at me strangely when something in the fridge is out of date. I am 63yrs young and I explain that it still ok.. Smell smell smell I always say. If you have eyes and a sense of smell I say you’ll be ok. Even dry goods I still use, anything dodgy toss it out. I cut off what I Do not like on vegs and fruit. I understand you have to be careful but some people take it too far.

  10. Elaine  

    Yes of course I would and have. With dairy and meat, if it smells and looks ok, it probably is. I have cut a bit of mould off some cheese and survived without incident lol. Fruit and Vegetables are not a problem, again, if there is no visible flaws, of course cook and eat. Don’t have much processed food, so that is not a problem. The occasional jam or chutney might be sitting around in the fridge but they have tons of sugar or vinegar to preserve them. If in doubt throw it out.

  11. Jeannie Bliss  

    I agree with these comments as I do use some products after used by dates take it in srygoods ,spice and seasoings. Also I buy meat orpoultry if it i labled to be used by that date or next, saves money and that for me is neccesary. With fruit and veg etc cut off the bad mot throw whole lot away. It is a matter of being sensible and as you said usingyour sense of smell to detect if looks and smells ok. Package food as you say have preservatives ad sugar. The lable to me ontins,packets and othernone ‘fresh’products is to me guide line maufacturers have been requested to abide by. Package biscuits too another guide line only. Use commonsense and sense and sensibility allows me to buy products cheaper thereby supplmenting my income. My sons and their partners however are much more meticulous and rihe than I, so up to self what suits individual. They look at me in horror if they are about to throw something out and I say I will take it! It isfunny as only yesterday friends and I were having discussion about it, be sensible and others can do their stuff too so thank you for clarifying what I was saying as fact

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