Some foods CAN be eaten after Best Before by up to three years later

Some foods CAN be eaten after Best Before day by up to three years later, including Heinz Beanz, according to new government guidance released in bid to reduce waste

  • Tinned goods can be eaten up to three years after their Best Before, says WRAP
  • Some vegetable and bread can also last for one week, according to guidance
  • But it is advised bakery goods are checked for mould and packaging for quality 
  • It comes as increased food waste is expected amid the coronavirus pandemic 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Some foods can be consumed after their Best Before day by up to three years later, including Heinz Beanz, according to new government guidance released in a bid to reduce waste.

WRAP, which advises the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), says tinned goods such as Heinz Beanz and soup, alongside pasta, jars of jam and meat, can be eaten up to three years after their expiration date.

It comes as increased food waste is expected from the £1.9billion worth of groceries stockpiled by panic-buyers at the start of the coronavirus crisis. 

Some foods such as Heinz Beanz (file photo, above) can be consumed by up to three years after their Best Before day, according to guidance from waste adviser Wrap

Bread (file photo of loaf, pictured), that has been packaged, can be eaten a week after its Best Before day, provided it has not gone mouldy, says the advice 

The guidance also says packaged cake can be eaten three months after its Best Before day and crisps, provided they are not stale, can be eaten a month after the date. 

Some fruit and vegetables and packaged bread can be eaten a week after the date, if mould is not present.

It is advised that bakery goods and packaging be checked for quality.

Peter Maddox, Director of WRAP, said: ‘Food businesses are doing an incredible job ensuring that food which cannot be sold at this time moves around the supply chain to feed people, and isn’t wasted. 

‘Our guide will help by giving clear advice on how best to redistribute food that’s exceeded the Best Before date. 

‘The law states that all food with a Best Before date can be sold, redistributed and consumed after that date, as long as it’s still good quality, but we appreciate that isn’t understood by all, or universally implemented.  

Chocolate (file photo, pictured) can last for up to one year after its Best Before date, according to the new guidance. It comes as increased food waste is expected from stockpilers

Frozen vegetables (file photo, pictured) can last for three to six months after the expiration day

‘So, our aim is to make this common practice.’

Karen Todd, Senior Manager zero waste at ASDA, said: ‘At Asda we hate waste and want to do all we can to support food redistribution through our Fight Hunger Create Change. 

‘That’s why we’ve developed our own process which offers an additional “guaranteed life” past the printed best before date which has resulted in an additional 51 tonnes of food, the equivalent of 120,000 meals being redistributed to our charity partners. 

‘We will continue to look at new ways to reduce food waste and we welcome clear guidelines from WRAP for food with a best before date.’

Dried pasta (file photo, above) can last for up to three days after its Best Before. It follows university researchers warning an increase in illegal waste dumping has followed tip closures

A jar of jam (file photo, above) can last from three to five years after its expiration date. The guidance says that visual checks should still be carried out to check for food quality

Jamie Crummie, co-founder of Too Good To Go UK, added: ‘Date labelling has, and continues to be, a confusing issue for both businesses and consumers. This uncertainty could lead to food waste on a large scale across society.  

‘For example, last year we found that 720 million eggs are wasted by Brits each year because of confusions around “Best Before” date labelling. 

‘”Best Before” is simply a measure of quality rather than safety and we welcome the latest guidance from WRAP for food business and redistribution organisations on the issue.’

A full list of how long goods can last beyond their Best Before day

  • Bread and bakery goods: One week
  • Crisps: One month
  • Biscuits and cereals: Six months
  • Canned goods: One year
  • Pasta sauces: One year 
  • Confectionery: One year 
  • Dried pasta: Three years   
  • Jams: Three to five years 

It follows researchers from the Universities of Southampton and Portsmouth saying the increase in illegal waste dumping has followed the closure of almost all tips, while at the same time the number of DIY projects has increased by householders stuck at home. 

The problem has also been worsened with nearly half of all local authority recycling services in the country having been stopped or reduced, and charity shops being closed and not able to take unwanted goods. 

The researchers also pointed out that the environmental impact of the closures may be worsened with valuable resources having to be extracted that would normally have come from recyclables that have now ended up in landfill.

Professor Ian Williams, of the School of Engineering at the University of Southampton, said: ‘This pandemic has been a wake-up call to governments and the waste sector to ensure that supply chains and markets for recyclates are diverse and resilient.

‘Our current waste management system will need to evolve to be resilient to the impacts of these rare, extreme, global events to create a successful circular economy.’

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