Expiry dates explained
Sharing food after the use-by date: Not allowed on OLIO
You'll see Use by dates on food that goes off quickly, such as smoked fish, meat products and ready-prepared salads.
OLIO is commited to preventing food waste. However, it is illegal to give food away after midnight of the use-by date on the label, even if it looks and smells fine. This is because using it after this date could put your health at risk.
- For the Use by date to be a valid guide, you must follow storage instructions such as "keep in a refrigerator".
- Food past it's use by date should not be given to animals
- If a food can be frozen, its life can be extended if it is frozen before the use-by date
Sharing food after the Best before date: Allowed on OLIO
Best before dates appear on a wide range of frozen, dried, tinned and other foods. Best before dates are about quality, not safety. When the date is passed, it doesn't mean that the food will be harmful, but it might begin to lose its flavour and texture.
- Remember, the "best before" date will only be accurate if the food is stored according to the instructions on the label, such as "store in a cool dry place" or "keep in the fridge once opened".
- Every year, we throw away 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink in the UK, most of which could have been eaten. So think carefully before throwing away food past its Best before date.
Sharing food after the Expiry date, Display until date and Sell by date: Allowed on OLIO
- Retailers often use Sell by and Display until dates on their shelves for stock control purposes - these dates are about quality and not safety
- In some countries (eg Singapore) the term Expiry date is used for many food categories, and retailers cannot give away or sell food past Expiry, Display until or Sell by dates
- Individuals, however, can share food on OLIO past these dates. This is because individual sharing of food within households or communities is not in scope of food safety regulators, and OLIO simply facilitates this
- As always, individuals should only share food they believe is safe to eat and would be willing to eat themselves
- Upon collection, the requester chooses to accept or reject food past its Expiry, Display until or Sell by date.