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Clearer knowledge of date labels could cut food waste this Christmas

In December alone it’s estimated that a staggering 60 million meals will go uneaten. Yet better awareness of date labels and what they mean could help prevent good food needlessly being binned.

We have teamed up with Food Standards Scotland to support calls for simpler, clearer date labelling and storage advice for consumers.

It follows new guidance for the food and drink industry that sets out best practice in the choice and application of date labels and storage advice.

With Christmas shopping season well underway, Scots are being urged to remember the difference between the key date labels when buying and storing their festive food:

Use by: These dates refer to safety. Food can be eaten up to the end of this date but not after even if it looks and smells fine. Always follow the storage instructions on packs.

Best before dates however refer to quality rather than food safety. Foods with a 'best before' date should be safe to eat after the 'best before' date, but they may no longer be at their best.

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