Know your dates to minimise food waste

Picture of a love heart shaped cookie cutter

Confusion between 'Use By' and 'Best Before' dates mean we sometimes throw out food that is still very much edible. So what is the difference?

The 'Use By' date relate to food safety – it gives you an idea of how long you can safely consume food. Do NOT consume the product once past its 'Use-By' date.

The Best Before dates is different. A product will remain fresh and of good quality right up to its Best-before date (and sometimes beyond) if it is properly stored, both at home and at the supermarket. It can appear on a wide range of fresh, frozen, dried and tinned foods.  The food is not spoiled immediately after the date and can still be sold if in good condition.

Sometimes a quick baking, toast or whizz is all food needs to be revived past its Best Before.

Stale bread can be made into croutons in the oven once lathered with garlic, rosemary and olive oil. Wilting parsley and kale can be whizzed into a pesto. Mould on cheese can be scrapped off so it can still be served at aperitivo time. And one timely one for Easter, leftover hot cross buns (if there is such a thing) make a drool-worthy bread and butter pudding.

The less food you are putting in your bin each week the better, as food waste is a large contributor to greenhouse gasses. If you do have food waste, it should be placed in the green bin as once this is collected it is mixed with garden waste in processing plant to be turned into compost. Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and Nambucca Councils have ambitious waste diversion targets from landfill, and whilst we’re all pretty good at putting the right thing into the bin, let’s try to get more food in our bellies over the bin!