Use by dates on food OTT?

Use by dates on food - needed or not?
Use by dates on food - needed or not?

With a Lord confirming that he ate a 20 year old biscuit with absolutely no side effects, we wonder whether use by dates and best before should be a thing? Sometimes you can buy an item that goes bad the next day but is still within the date, other times you can find a tin at the back of the cupboard expired by a year, chance it and enjoy the food.

What are your thoughts on best before and use by, necessary or not?


  • Keeps us safe so we do not eat out of date food
  • Helps us hold companies to account if food is bad before the date
  • Encourages us to make use of food reducing waste
  • Encourages responsible purchasing and not stockpiling


  • Most food is safe to eat way beyond the suggested expiry date
  • Adds to the food waste problem and lots is thrown out but edible
  • Does not encourage good storage from consumers who expect food to be fine until the date
  • Makes it challenging to complain about food which hasn’t stored well because the expiry date is within the week (like fruits picked and sold so close to being overripe)

Let’s hear your views, do we need dates or a ‘best before’ only? Should we all be learning more about food or do we need those nanny state reminders to get rid of goods which may ‘look fine’ but could be harmful.

Have you eaten any biscuits that are 20 years old or longer?! Share your views in our debate forum

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