We've been hard at work getting our online food safety training website up and running. We are offering a lucky few an opportunity to be our beta-testers. More about our training below.
Can you eat food past the best before date?
When it comes to pushing the line of the best before date and use by dates of foods, most kitchens and consumers at home find this to be a grey area. In all honesty, even experts cannot agree if this is a solid line that should not be crossed or if it’s okay to push the limits. There is also an increasing question about food security and preventing the wastage of food. Considering this, it then becomes important to consider when to save food and when to chuck it.
Unfortunately, in many countries, the food labelling laws are still quite ambiguous. This allows the manufacturer to use either dates without clearly defining the meaning.
How are best before and use by dates determined?
Before discussing whether these dates can be pushed, it would be prudent to explain how these dates are determined, and what the difference between the two are. These dates can be explained in fairly simple terms.
These dates can be explained in fairly simple terms.
Best before date
The best before date, is usually a measure of quality, meaning taste, texture, aroma and appearance. Specifically for foods that do not support the growth of bacteria and other micro-organisms. This means that the product being consumed has a measure of when the best quality of the product would be. Such an example would be ice-cream, butter and breads. These also include tinned and dried products.
Use by dates
The use by dates are significantly different. This date is a measure of suitability for human consumption, and is measured on a scientific basis. These dates would be present in foods that do support the growth of bacteria, and include all fresh and ready to eat foods. These dates would be determined by what is called a shelf-life test. These tests include microbiological testing to determine how long a product can last before the growth of bacteria proliferates. The more bacteria grow, the quicker the food expires. These conditions not only support the growth of food spoilage bacteria, but can also support pathogenic growth.
There are a number of factors that can determine both dates, including the addition of preservatives, pH, salt content etc. These are the conditions that support or prevent the growth of bacteria. Check out our article on how bacteria grow for more details.
Why You Need A Guide To Sandwich Food Safety : Sandwiches Are Riskier Than You Think
We always tend to think that sandwiches are low risk and can be left out for as long as is needed. Unfortunately, sandwiches are much more riskier than we think they are.
There is a microbiological risk in sandwich making that affects sandwich food safety. In reality, it is the sandwich fillings that create the risk. Sandwich fillings are perishable, uncooked products that usually undergo no heating or sanitising.
And are made by hand throughout the production process.
Let’s consider the most common fillings:
Each of these foods has at some stage or another been implicated in food poisoning outbreaks. Lettuce and cucumbers are the most common foods that carry E.coli O157:H7. Which is the pathogenic strain of E.coliwhich causes internal hemorrhagic bleeding of the gut.
Chicken mayo and deli meats have been implicated in serious cases of Listeriosis, Salmonellosis and a number of cross-contamination cases involving Campylobacter. It then seems strange that we would consider sandwiches as low-risk foods. There are definite microbiological risks that can affect sandwich food safety. Adding to the concerns are how sandwiches are treated during preparation and display. Sandwiches are usually prepared in large portions.
Sign up for our online food safety training for the kitchen below!
The Food Safety for the Kitchen Online Course is designed to offer understanding and insight into the requirements of kitchen hygiene and food safety in order to assist you in preventing the risk of causing food poisoning.
The Food Safety for the Kitchen Online course includes :
All food safety procedures
Food Safety legal requirements
Microbiological best practice
All critical and most major non-conformances will be explained.
Tips on how to comply with requirements.
All areas in and around the kitchen must be kept clean and in a good physical condition. As such not all requirements (minor non-conformances) can be covered in this training.
Click on the button below and fill in the sign up form. We will choose 5 lucky beta testers to help with the final touches on our site.
Alternately you can also check out our training website below:
Need Food Safety Training? Check out our book on "Food Safety For The Kitchen" on Amazon.com. This book covers the Bacteria Basics, The Food Safety Pillars and a bonus chapter on the Listeriosis Outbreak in South Africa. Known as as the largest Outbreak in Recorded History.