How long are foods safe after their ‘best before’ date?

Many foods are safe to eat long after their ‘best before’ date, according to a new report by WRAP. Foods stored correctly can remain perfectly good to eat for weeks, months or even years, the food waste charity says.

Here’s how long they say different foods can remain edible after their ‘best before’ date: 

🥐Baked goods: up to 1 week
🥕Loose fruit & vegetables: up to 2 weeks
🥔 Crisps: up to 1 month
🍪 Biscuits and cereal: up to 6 months
❄️Frozen foods: always safe to eat, but for best flavour eat within a year
🥫Food in tins & jars: up to 3 years
📦Dried pasta and pulses: 3 years

Best before dates are all about quality. The food won’t be harmful if eaten after this date but its texture or flavour may not be at its best. The report encourages people to use their common sense – if there is no mould, rotting and the packaging isn’t damaged, it’s safe to eat.

They warn people to be more careful when it comes to foods with ‘use by’ dates – which include milk, meat and sandwiches – can make people ill if eaten after that date, even if they look and smell fine. 

Almost 70% of UK food waste happens at home, with the average family throwing away over £60 of food a month. It’s hoped that providing more clarity around date labels will empower people to cut down their food waste and pocket the difference.

One thought on “How long are foods safe after their ‘best before’ date?

  1. Great stuff!! Some squash varieties, e.g. the hardy Crown Prince, can be stored for up to a year as well (and you can grow them in your own garden!), and some millets can be stored for many years.


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