CUPBOARD basics can be eaten up to five years past their best before date if stored correctly with no broken seals, new guidance has said.
Wrap, the Government's food waste adviser, has revealed that jam can be safe to eat up to five years past its date while dried pasta can be eaten three years later.
Canned meat and soup, sweets, drinks and pasta sauces can last up to a year while biscuits and cereal is fine up to six months.
Crisps can be eaten a month after the date lapses.
Bread and bakery products remain good to eat for between two days for bread, and up to one week for other packaged bakery products.
Bakery items which are sold in long life packaging, such as pitta breads, can be eaten a month after the best before date.
For frozen foods, Wrap has said if items have been stored in accordance with the manufacturer's guidance, they will be safe to eat for months after the Best Before End date.
Meanwhile uncut fresh fruit and vegetables don't require food labels by law, and it is hard to give an exact time for when individual products might go off as each food varies.
But it said most fruits and vegetables stay fresh for longer if stored in a fridge, below 5°C, and in their original packaging.
Best before dates: The guidance
Here is a list of how long each food lasts after it's 'Best Before' date if it has been stored correctly with no broken packaging.
- Fresh fruit and vegetables: Varies per product and when it's in season. Best way to keep your fruits and vegetables fresher is to store them in a fridge, below 5°C, in their original packaging. They must be uncut.
- Frozen food: Several months.
- Bread: Two days
- Bakery products: One week
- Crisps: One month
- Biscuits: Six months
- Cereal: Six months
- Canned meat: 12 months
- Canned soup: 12 months
- Sweets and chocolate: 12 months
- Drinks (cans / plastic / glass bottles): 12 months
- Pasta sauces: 12 months
- Dried pasta: Three years
- Jam: Three to five years
Wrap has stressed food and packaging must be checked over to ensure the food is good quality before eating it.
The guidance has been published after consulting with the Food Standards Agency, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and food redistribution groups.
It's been created to encourage families and businesses not to throw away food as soon as it passes the best before date during the Covid-19 crisis.
Peter Maddox, director at WRAP, said: "Knowing the difference between Best Before and Use By is one of the biggest ways to stop food waste in the home.
"A Best Before date is only a quality guide, and you can use your judgement as to whether it’s still good to eat.
"Use By is the safety mark and there to protect us. No food should be sold, redistributed or eaten after the Use By.”
The guidance has been backed by Asda, food-sharing app Too Good To Go and food charities.
Earlier this year, one mum explained how she got £25 worth of Morrisons food for just £3 using Too Good to Go.
Meanwhile, MoneySavingExpert has revealed when supermarket slots are released during the coronavirus pandemic.
And we've compiled a list of all the different shops and food chains that have reopened a month after social distancing measures were implemented by the Government.
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