Are you sitting down?

Yogurt with a best before date of today is still good (and safe) to eat for seven to 10 days whether open or unopened.

Reading best before dates as expiry dates probably contributes to food waste and every year a staggering amount of the world’s food is wasted after it has been harvested. That’s wasted fruit and vegetables, fish and seafood, cereals, dairy products and meat.

Let’s change that.

Best before dates have to do with food quality — freshness, texture, flavour and nutritional value — not safety. They are not expiry dates.

Not confusing “best before” with “expired” will lead to these three things:

  1. You’ll waste less food.
  2. You’ll save money.
  3. You’ll avoid sending food waste to the landfill, which contributes to increasing methane emissions.

How long after a best before date can I safely eat eggs, milk, mustard, cereal, etc.?

Check out Love Food Hate Waste for storage and consumption time limits.

What happens to food after its best before date?

After the best before date has passed, food may lose some freshness and flavour and texture may change. Some foods lose nutritional value, e.g., contain less vitamin C.

You can buy and eat foods after their best before dates have passed.

Where will you see best before dates?

Best before dates are only required on foods that stay fresh for 90 days or less. Some things have them that don’t need them, like bottled water.

Only a few foods — like infant formula and formulated liquid diets — actually have expiry dates.

Remember

Always avoid leaky or bulging canned goods.

Queen of Green image that reads: David Suzuki's Queen of Green gives you tips and recipes to live sustainably.