Use by Dates: The Critical Ingredient for Food Safety in Your Business

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Let’s talk about something that’s incredibly important to the safety and well-being of your customers: the use by date.

You might think that using food past its use by date is no big deal. After all, it’s just a date, right? Wrong. Using food past its use by date can be incredibly dangerous, and can lead to serious illness or even death. It’s also a criminal offence to sell food that is past its use by date.

So, what’s the difference between the use by date and the best before date? The use by date is the date after which the food is no longer safe to eat. This means that if you use the food after this date, you are putting your customers at risk. The use by date is typically found on perishable foods, such as fresh meat products, dairy products and fish products.

use by 2

On the other hand, the best before date is the date after which the food may start to lose its quality, but is still safe to eat. This date is typically found on non-perishable foods such as canned goods, dry goods and frozen foods. Using food past its best before date is not dangerous but it may not taste as good as it would have before the best before date.

best before 2

Now, you might be thinking, “But what if the food looks and smells okay? Can’t I just use it anyway?” Unfortunately, this is a big mistake. The use by date is based on scientific testing that determines when the food is no longer safe to eat. Even if the food looks and smells okay it may still contain harmful bacteria that can cause illness.

In fact, using food past its use by date can cause food poisoning. Symptoms of food poisoning can include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. In severe cases, it can even lead to hospitalisation or death.

food poisoning

As a food business, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your customers are safe from harm. This means that you need to be vigilant about checking the use by dates on your food and making sure that you don’t use anything past its use by date. It’s also important to make sure that your staff are trained on the importance of food safety and that they know how to properly handle and store food. Staff should be trained to check use by dates on foods as part of your opening and closing checks.

In addition to keeping your customers safe, there are other benefits to using food within its use by date. For one, it ensures that your food is fresh and of high quality, which can improve customer satisfaction. It can also reduce waste, as you won’t have to throw away food that has gone bad.

In conclusion, using food past its use by date is never worth the risk. As a food business, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your customers are safe and that means checking the use by dates on your food and using it before it expires. By doing so, you’ll not only keep your customers safe, but you’ll also improve the quality of your food and reduce waste. So, the next time you’re tempted to use food past its use-by date, remember: it’s just not worth it.

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