FSS publishes guidance on date labelling

25 January 2022

Article: 56/304

While welcoming initiatives for reducing food waste, Food Standards Scotland (FSS) reminds consumers that they do not advise use of the sniff test as a method for checking if food can be eaten without harm.

To control the risks of food poisoning, FSS advises that food businesses must apply the appropriate date labels to their products, based on the scientific evidence for their safety and shelf life. The use by date is the most important storage instruction, meaning the food can be used until the end of this date but not after. Manufacturers apply these to perishable foods that can go off quickly to ensure they are eaten before any harmful bugs that may be present are able to grow to levels that can cause illness.

Foods that do not have a use by date are usually labelled best before, which means that they will be safe to eat after this date, but may not be at their best, for example products may have lost their flavour or gone stale. For best before labelled foods, FSS advise that it should be safe to use smell or appearance to decide if they can be consumed, but the label should always be consulted first.

Source: FSS, 18 January 2022