BEST before dates on food are all about the quality of the product not the safety of consuming it.
Here’s how the dates on bread affect when you can eat it.
Bread can be consumed after its best before date[/caption]
Can you eat bread after the best before date?
Yes, packaged bread can be eaten past its best before date (BBD).
A best before date indicates when the food is at its best to eat.
But there are no safety issues with eating it after the date has expired – it just might not taste as good.
According to the government website, loose foods, such as unpackaged bread, do not need to display a best before date.
How long is bread good after the expiration date?
Bread can last around five to seven days after the best before date if stored and packaged at room temperature.
If you store your bread in the fridge you can use it for up to two weeks past the best before date.
Bakery bread can last up to two to three days after it is bought.
However, you can safely eat it after this time, but it may not be as fresh.
Good Housekeeping recommends wrapping it in clingfilm to keep it fresh.
Bread that has gone a little hard can still be great when toasted.
Bread sold in long-life packaging like pittas can last for considerably longer – potentially months.
If you want to make the shelf life of your bread longer, pop it in the freezer as it can be stored for up to six months this way.
You can freeze bread indefinitely, but the quality of the loaf may not be as good.
How to tell if your bread has gone off
If there is visible mould on your bread, throw it away.
Even if only one slice is affected in the loaf, do not eat the rest of the slices.
The mould can have different colours from white to black or green/blue.
How to keep bread fresh
Bread should be stored in a cool, dry area to keep it fresh.
Reusable bread bags are recommended as they help bread to breathe and stay fresh.
Freshly baked bread should be stored in paper bags to allow it to breathe.
Investing in a bread bin can also help keep your loaf fresher for longer, especially one with a tight fitting lid.
A long term option of storing bread is to put it in the freezer.
Freezing makes the bread last indefinitely but over time the quality will decline.
That is why it is recommended to only keep bread frozen for up to six months.
What other foods should you ditch and are there any you can keep after the best before date?
Foods that are not suitable to eat after a certain length of time are given a use-by date.
Use-by dates are placed on food that goes off quickly, such as meat products or ready-to-eat salads.
Here’s the food that should be ditched of the ate has expired:
- Fresh berries – Fresh berries can carry a parasite called cyclospora. This can cause diarrhoea, vomiting and other nasty flu-like symptoms.
- Fresh meat – Fresh meat should be consumed immediately.
- Fresh juices – Fresh juices should always be chucked after they have expired.
- Sprouts – Sprouts are grown in a warm, moist environment which means they can be prone to contamination.
- Fish – Fish that is out of date has increased chances of giving you listeriosis – a disease that causes abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting.
Food that can be consumed after the best before date includes:
- Chocolate – As long as chocolate tastes OK, it is good to keep and eat.
- Yogurt – You can usually eat yogurt for two weeks after the best before date.
- Eggs – If an egg sinks in a bowl of water, it’s good to eat.
- Biscuits – Biscuits can be eaten for a few weeks after expiring.
- Dried pasta – Dry pasta can last up to three years after the best before date if it is stored in a cool, dry and airtight environment.
- Canned goods – As long as cans are undamaged and stored cool away from direct light, they can last for around four years.
- Frozen vegetables – If veg is kept frozen, it can last indefinitely.
- Milk – Milk can be used as long as it tastes and smells OK.