What happens to expired products

According to the best before date (BBD): This is how long you can eat food that has "expired"

August 26, 2020 - 3:34 pm

Best before is often misinterpreted

12 million tons of food are thrown away in Germany every year. A gigantic amount - and many of them are products that are still flawless and completely enjoyable. Often this is also due to the best-before date (BBD), which is misinterpreted by many. Once this has been achieved, consumers are often unsettled and prefer to dispose of food to be on the safe side. The best before date is not an expiration date!

What does the best before date actually mean?

The best before date on packaged foods indicates that the product will definitely retain its specific properties such as smell, color or taste up to this date, explains nutritionist Mona Poulev in an interview with RTL. But that does not mean that it would be spoiled after this point in time!

Rely on your senses first of all when it comes to foods that have exceeded their best-before date. Check the appearance, smell, taste and consistency. If all of this is unchanged, the products can be eaten without hesitation. Many foods are still edible for months after their best-before date.

This is how long foods last beyond their best-before date

Tafel Deutschland campaigns against food waste and wants to promote an informed and self-confident handling of the best-before date. It therefore indicates how long food can be consumed beyond the best-before date. And some of these time spans are impressively long:

  • Eggs, cheese and butter: 21 days
  • Sausage: 7 days
  • Milk: 2 days
  • Bread and rolls: 2 days
  • Yogurt: 5 days
  • Oatmeal and muesli: 2 months
  • Frozen meals: 6 months
  • Rice, pasta, flour and cocoa: 1 year
  • Pepper and sugar: 1 year
  • Canned foods such as beans, peas or tuna: 1 year
  • Honey: 1 year
  • Jam: 1 year

What is the difference between the best before date and the best before date?

As the name suggests: the best before date indicates how long a product will last at least is durable. And this is exactly where the difference to the use-by date or use-by date lies, which is found instead of a best-before date on perishable products such as fresh minced meat and fish. The use-by date shows the date by which a product should be consumed. Once this has been achieved, these foods may actually no longer be eaten.

This is how food lasts longer

Storage is crucial for the shelf life of food. It should be cool, dark and dry. For example, bread should be stowed in a special bread box at room temperature.

In the video, Raphael Fellmer, food rescuer and owner of an online shop for expired foods, explains which foods have a particularly long shelf life and what helps us to recognize whether something is still edible. And here you can find out how to make foods such as wilted lettuce fresh again.