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In some regions, an advisory best before, mandatory use by or freshness date is required on packaged perishable foods.The concept of expiration date is related but legally distinct in some jurisdictions.That's what most "use-by" dates indicate now, though studies have shown that many consumers believe they signal whether a product is okay to eat.

He continued that changes to date labelling could reduce the amount by 350,000 tons each year.Most can be influenced by several factors: exposure to light, heat, moisture, transmission of gases, mechanical stresses, and contamination by things such as micro-organisms.Product quality is often mathematically modelled around a parameter (concentration of a chemical compound, a microbiological index, or moisture content)."Overly cautious" and "restrictive" use by dates on food should be scrapped according to new draft Government guidance, and instead should be replaced with best before dates.Doing so could save consumers £600 million per year and help to reduce the 7.3 million tons of food thrown away in the UK each year, it has been suggested.

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Households will be encouraged to use the smell test to judge whether milk is still drinkable under plans to scrap the “use-by” date on containers.

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