Food for thought

Do we pay too much attention to best before dates on food?

BEST before dates have been giving East Devon consumers food for thought as the labels come under Government scrutiny.

Common sense, not numbers, should be exercised when it comes to food labelling, according to many.

The Government has indicated that best before dates on food could be set for reform, but do consumers pay too much attention to advice on food packaging?

Shoppers in Honiton feel the nation needs to use a bit more common sense and not pay so much attention to best before dates, except when it comes to perishable items.

Kara Martin, 43, of Gittisham, said: “I always look at best before dates on food and think whether or not I will use it within the date and whether it is freezable.

“It is about using common sense and good housekeeping.

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“We do make too much of a deal about dates on food.

“People need to learn about how to make the best out of what is in their store cupboards and shop to a menu.”

Meg Parsons, 67, of Southleigh, said: “I definitely think we make too much of best before dates. If it smells wrong, don’t eat it.

“I don’t take much notice of the dates, as long as my flour hasn’t got weevils in it.

“Dates on food have taken away people’s common sense.”

Eileen Hope, 62, said: “I would rather have best before dates on food. You want to know that things are fresh.”

Adrian Wood, 80, said: “People do make too much of best before dates.

“Some foods in tins can probably last a long time.

“People have gone stupid over sell by dates and best before dates.

“People should buy what they can eat, rather than over-buying and throwing food away.”

His wife Margaret, 82, added: “When I was a child, we used to keep meat outside in a mesh casing.

“People have just got to use common sense.

“I think some families waste food by going by the use by dates, but we don’t.

“What we don’t eat goes in the compost.”

Pensioner Pam Bailey said: “We do focus too much on best before dates, in a way.

“It wouldn’t have happened years ago as we didn’t used to have best before dates back then.

“People should take notice of best before dates, especially older people.

“You can always give food a good sniff to see if it has gone over the dates.”