How long to keep

What do the dates mean? Start saving money right now by making a date with your fridge! Just by opening the fridge door and checking the ‘use by’ dates on what’s inside, you can begin saving money. 

How often do you find that the ‘use by’ date on a packet of ham or bag of sausages has been and gone and you end up throwing it away? Meat, fish and ready meals are often the most expensive things we buy, so it helps to get into the habit of regularly checking the dates on perishable items in your fridge. Move them into the freezer if you don’t think you’ll have time to eat them or cook them for tonight’s supper.

When you get home with your shopping, it is a good idea to transfer as much as you can straight into the freezer. If you have large packets of chicken pieces or fish, divide them up and freeze individual portions.

Dates on food labels.  Many foods have a date stamped on the label. These dates can help you choose foods that are fresh and safe to eat. You will see different dates on different types of foods.

  • The "Pull-By" or "Sell-By" date is used on foods like milk, cheese, and packaged meats. It is the last date the product should be sold. These foods are usually stored in the refrigerator. They will stay fresh and safe for few days after this date if you store them properly.
  • "Freshness" or "Best-If-Used-By" dates are used on products like bakery goods or packaged cereals. The date is the last day the product can keep its best quality. After this date, the food may lose some of its freshness and nutritional value.
  • An "Expiration" or "Use-By" date is the last date the food should be eaten or used. It is used mostly on products such as refrigerated dough and yeast.
  • A "Pack" date is the date the food was manufactured or processed and packaged. This type of date is used for foods that can be kept for a long time, like canned goods.
How to Tell if Your Food Has Gone Bad

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