UK supermarket chain Morrisons is set to scrap ‘Use By’ dates on its own brand milk – and encourage its customers to use the sniff test – to help to reduce food waste in the home.
From January 31, ‘Use By’ dates will no longer appear on 90% of Morrisons own brand. The milk packaging will instead show ‘Best Before’ dates to indicate to customers when the milk may no longer taste its best.
However, the retailer says drinking milk after a ‘Best Before’ date is not a food safety issue and encourages consumers to sniff their milk before giving up on it.
“Wasted milk means wasted effort by our farmers and unnecessary carbon being released into the atmosphere,” says Morrisons Senior Milk Buyer Ian Goode.
“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.”
Morrisons anticipates the move will stop millions of pints of its own brand milk from being thrown away every year.
Milk is the third most wasted food and drink product in the UK, after potatoes and bread, with around 490 million pints wasted every year.
WRAP estimates that 85 million pints of milk waste may be a result of customers sticking to ‘Use By’ labels or ‘once opened use within’ guidance when products may still be good to consume.
Research shows fresh milk can often last a number of days past the ‘Use By’ date shown on the bottle. However customers are routinely throwing away milk as they incorrectly believe the milk is unsafe to drink.
“We’re taking a bold step today and asking customers to decide whether their milk is still good to drink,” Mr Goode says.
“Generations before us have always used the sniff test – and I believe we can too.”
Take the sniff test
- Look at your milk – if you can see that it has curdled then it is not right.
- Hold the milk bottle to your nose – if it smells sour then it may have spoiled.
Morrisons advises any customer with a smell or taste disorder to treat the ‘Best Before’ as a ‘Use By’ date and dispose of the milk once passed.
The retailer also has the following tips for making milk last longer at home:
- Put your milk in a cool bag when bringing it back from the supermarket
- Refrigerate your milk as soon as you get your shopping home
- Maintain your fridge at between 1- 4°C
- Never drink from your milk bottle
- Close your milk bottle immediately after use
- Do not leave your milk out of the fridge.