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Past "best-before " but not time for the bin

(36 Posts)
Elegran Sat 26-Jan-19 10:11:41

The Food Sharing Hub, on Bread Street, Edinburgh, opened its doors on Friday, with shelves stacked with fruit, vegetables and bakery products which supermarkets would previously have binned as they were past their best before date.

“The supermarkets donate food which is still safe to eat, that doesn’t meet their brand standards – as opposed to legal standards.

“It would be legal for them to sell it and it is legal for us to.

“It’s things like bakeries wanting to get rid of bread at the end of the day.

“Part of what we’re doing is trying to eliminate that, making people think ‘does it look like it’s gone off and smell like it’s gone off, or is it a day the shops are trying to get it off the shelves?’.”

FountainPen Sat 26-Jan-19 10:51:33

A very good idea. I live close to a Tesco Express and often pop up late in the evening around 10.30pm - a half hour before closing - not necessarily for bargains but because it's quiet and there's plenty of parking - not so in the daytime.

I regularly see staff hauling all the bread off the shelves, dozens and dozens and dozens of mostly cut pre-packaged loaves, into a huge wheeled bin. The bread may still have a week before the expiry date but the delivery lorry has just arrived with a fresh consignment which has to go out on the shelves before 6.00am the next morning so what hasn't been sold today has to be moved on.

I recall Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's TV programme on food waste, skip diving at the back of Waitrose seeing the sheer volume of perfectly good bananas thrown away each day.

Any initiatives to sell this perfectly good produce at bargain prices has to be welcome.

Marydoll Sat 26-Jan-19 11:30:45

What a great idea, Elegran. It's a pity that there isn't one in Glasgow.
I hate to see perfectly good food going to waste.

GrannyGravy13 Sat 26-Jan-19 11:33:07

There should be one of these in every town/village, excellent idea.

BlueBelle Sat 26-Jan-19 11:35:33

Totally agree GrannyGravy wish we had one here I hate waste

EllanVannin Sat 26-Jan-19 12:55:57

I hate waste too but I also hate food that's a couple of days over. It scares me because it's none too fresh to begin with given the travelling half of it's done.
It'll be a jolly sight worse after Brexit when lorries have queued for hours through the border patrols while checking their passports etc.

GrannyGravy13 Sat 26-Jan-19 13:30:23

What's wrong with looking and smelling food to denote whether it is edible or not? Isn't that how we were taught by our Mums and Grans?

I buy unpackaged food whenever possible and use my common sense.

megan123 Sat 26-Jan-19 13:47:33

We have a similar facility run by the Church in the next village and all the local supermarkets and shops donate food. It's very well attended and a brilliant service.

I hate waste and my mother did too, nothing was ever thrown away in our house.

Elegran Sat 26-Jan-19 14:03:17

EllanVannin If the food in the lorries is perishable then the lorries will be refrigerated, so the food will be no worse than it would have been after hours in the fridge at home. If it is not perishable, then a few more hours won't matter.

Plus, why be scared? If the food is not fit to eat, you will be in no doubt about its condition well before it reaches your plate.

NanaMacGeek Sat 26-Jan-19 18:29:16

I'm sorry to disagree but food spoilage organisms (ones that cause foods to look, taste and feel 'off') and food poisoning bacteria may go hand in hand but food that that smells and looks fine can contain enough food poisoning bacteria to make you ill. You should respect the 'Use by' dates and be strict about storing home cooked foods, especially cooked rice and pasta for no more than 2 to 3 days in the fridge.

Food beyond its 'Best before' date should be safe and that's what this thread is about. However, 'Use by' dates are there to protect the consumer.

It is a fallacy that you can always tell if food is safe by smell and taste.

Elegran Sat 26-Jan-19 19:33:23

But hating ALL food that is just over its date and being SCARED of it is over-reacting. The use-by labels take account of delivery times, even in less than perfect conditions, and in fact most manufacturers underestimate the dates they stamp on, to allow for that. They don't want to be held responsible for the state of it after it has been in the hands of others. We have become slaves to relying on the judgment of others and doubting our own common sense.

EllanVannin Sat 26-Jan-19 19:52:13

Well said NanaMacGeek.

Can I just ( boast ) here and say that I've never had food poisoning throughout my life nor has anything made me sick.
I value my gut and what goes into it.

BradfordLass72 Sat 26-Jan-19 19:57:56

"cut pre-packaged loaves, into a huge wheeled bin"

I hope that's just for the convenience of transporting it to Salvation Army and Baptist/Methodst etc charities who feed the homeless, to Women's Refuges and the many other deserving places who do sterling work with the needy. If not, I hope you will all bombard your supermarkets with this suggestion.
We have very strict food guidelines here and cafes/restaurants who have food left at the end of the day are not allowed to even give it away but supermarkets are - and do, to the above charities.

Elegran Sat 26-Jan-19 20:03:44

Neither have I, EllanVannin, not even way back as a child in the 1940's well before the introduction of fridges and date stamps on food. My mother stored food safely and used it sensibly. Rationing meant that throwing away usable basics would have meant having even less to cook with so she paid attention to where she bought perishables, how she kept them and how she cooked them.

Marydoll Sat 26-Jan-19 20:07:57

I still have that mindset Elegran, the result of being brought up in poverty.
My mother struggled daily to feed us, due to my father being unable to work, through chronic illness.

glammanana Sun 27-Jan-19 10:12:16

Such a good idea Elegran its a scheme which should be operating in every City it will surely help the homeless and those people who find themselves in a position where they are struggling to make ends meet.
My DD gets off the bus from work and always goes into her local Tescos some of the reductions she buys are well worth having even down to ready meals which she freezes on the day she purchases for later in the week,she also does this for sliced bread which she uses for toast at breakfast time for the boys never has anyone had upset tummies.

trisher Sun 27-Jan-19 11:04:53

I had some spinach and ricotta canelloni yesterday that should have been eaten on Thursday and I'm still here! Greggs have shops in the poorer areas of Newcastle that sell 'seconds' and reduced items.

Elegran Sun 27-Jan-19 11:51:04

The "useby" and "best before" labels were a good idea to make it clear to buyers just when the food they buy was produced and how long it has been on the shelf. (I remember once long ago when we were touring in a faroff corner of the country I saw pies in a small corner shop with patches of blue mould)

I think the original idea was to have the date of manufacture, in a form that was easily understood, not coded for the manufacturers information only. Then they took it one stage further, to show the approximate shelf-life of the product. This has now come to mean the exact shelf-life - by many people it is supposed to spontaneously become poisonous on that precise date, not a day earlier or a day later.

Blinko Sun 27-Jan-19 11:55:32

I'm a pre 'use by' or 'sell by' or 'best before' kinda person. I go on smell and taste. So far I've reached 71 with no food poisoning.....all the family have always been ok too, even when tiny.

So I say yah boo to the marketeers trying to get us all to chuck things away and buy more stuff.

Pittcity Sun 27-Jan-19 13:50:21

Our local Co-op reduces these to 10p and they usually all go quickly.

I see quite a bit of fresh produce is undated now (I expect the shops have dates on the boxes) and you just use your common sense as to whether to buy/use it.

varian Tue 19-Mar-19 15:20:10

I have just used up the last of the plums that I stoned and bagged and put in my freezer when we had a bumper harvest in 1996.

No-one who has eaten anything I've given them has ever suffered from food poisoning.

Jalima1108 Tue 19-Mar-19 16:05:32

When our parents went food shopping nothing was packaged therefore nothing had a 'best before' or 'use by' date on it - fruit and veg was all loose and put into paper bags, meat wrapped in greaseproof paper, milk delivered daily in bottles, bread was baked daily (and the baker knew more or less how much was required) and sold off as 'stale' at the end of the day.

Leftover cooked rice can be dangerous as NanaMcGeek says, unless chilled immediately after cooking.

varian grin
I'm ok with my 2015 blackcurrants then - DH keeps telling me to get rid of them! They are going to be blackcurrant jelly.
People relied on their own common sense.

This is an excellent idea, Elegran and I think has been trialled in other areas.

moggie57 Tue 19-Mar-19 16:07:59

I think more supermarkets should do this . I usually go about 7pm at night when supermarket drastically reduce their food, and come home with plenty of is really disgusting the food they throw away.

paddyann Tue 19-Mar-19 16:26:38

I opened a box of Hotel Chocolat chocolates that had a BB date of 1st March .My guests ate most of them yesterday ,should I worry they'll all be ill? They looked fine and as I dont eat chocolate I have to take the others opinion that they tasted great .

Day6 Tue 19-Mar-19 16:35:12

I am another sniff and inspect sort where food is concerned, and I have never had food poisoning.

I grew up with no fridge too. Mum kept bottles of milk milk in pails of cold water, and meat wrapped in greaseproof paper on the marble shelves of the pantry. Bacon was sliced on a meat slicer in the Co-Op when and as needed and you could see the big flitch of bacon hanging up in the back - brought in and out by the butcher, sliced with rind on and wrapped in paper, then kept in the larder. It did us no harm.

We are the generation who remembers free (warm) milk at school, the spots of creamy, thick milk in our tea and butter turning to liquid in the warm months. We survived that. Mum was fastidious, and ensured flies could never settle on food - once out of the pantry it was covered again. My siblings and I seem to have strong digestive systems.grin

I actually prefer my yoghurt when it's past it's use by date - it's slightly thicker and creamier. My daughter would throw it out. I think "Waste not, want not" is stamped right the way through my body, like a stick of rock! I always feel satisfied if I can turn leftovers into a meal.

If it smells off, looks off or tastes bad, it goes into the bin.