M&S is removing use-by dates on milk

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Marks and Spencer is the latest supermarket to remove use-by dates from several of its milk cartons, in a bit to help reduce food waste.

The high-end supermarket has made the pledge because milk is the third most wasted food product in Britain, after potatoes and bread.

In fact, we bin 490 million pints of it every year (which is valued at around £270 million, according to food waste charity, WRAP).

The change is now in place across all RSPCA Assured Select Farms British and organic fresh milk, with best-before dates replacing the use-by numbers.

marks and spencer ms milk use by date

Marks and Spencer’s milks are ditching use-by dates (Credit: Getty)

This is because use-by dates are regarded as an official guide to when food is safe to eat, whilst best before is allows for more wriggle room.

“The combination of improved shelf life and overall quality of milk in recent years has enabled M&S to make the change to ‘Best Before’ dates, which means customers can use their judgement before throwing away milk which may be too good to waste,” the supermarket said.

Catherine David, Director Collaboration and Change, WRAP, said of the change: “The main reason [milk is wasted] is not drinking before the use-by date.

“By changing its British and organic fresh milk to a best-before date, M&S is instantly helping its customers save money and cut waste by giving them more time to consume the milk they buy.

“WRAP’s joint Best Practice with the Food Standards Agency, Defra and Dairy UK states to only apply a use-by date when required for food safety reasons, and it’s fantastic to see M&S – a Courtauld 2030 signatory – making this switch.

“This type of change to labelling is fundamental in helping people reduce household food waste, which currently tops more than 6.6 million tonnes each year across the UK.”

marks and spencer ms milk use by date

Marks and Spencer’s shoppers will have to do the sniff test (Credit: Getty)

The supermarket joins Morrisons in making the change, after they announced they’d be taking use-by dates off 90 percent of milk bottles in January 2022.

At the time, Ian Goode, senior milk buyer at Morrisons told ITV News: “Wasted milk means wasted effort by our farmers and unnecessary carbon being released into the atmosphere.

“Good quality well-kept milk has a good few days life after normal ‘use by’ dates – and we think it should be consumed, not tipped down the sink.

“So, we’re taking a bold step today and asking customers to decide whether their milk is still good to drink.

“Generations before us have always used the sniff test – and I believe we can too.”