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Use By, Best Before & Sell By dates

Use By, Best Before & Sell By dates

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Best Before, Use By & Sell By dates

“Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of those who are poor and hungry.”

– pope francis

Food labelling can be confusing, especially around the dates that we find stamped on them. Best Before, Use By, Sell By…. so similar yet mean different things. I will try to break them down and explain them for you.

Best Before 

This date is all about the quality of the food, and not so much the safety. It may say Best Before or Best Before End.

If you eat the food before this date you’ll be eating it at it’s best in terms of flavour and texture. For example, fruit and vegetables may start to lose their ripeness after this date. Tinned or dried foods will also have this date. Although they last much longer than fresh foods, there will still be a time where it’s not so good to eat.

You won’t do yourself any harm eating after this date, it just won’t taste as good as it would before if you’ve stored it correctly. 

Use By

 

This date is about safety. You’ll find it on foods like fresh meat and fish.

If you store the food correctly it will be safe to eat until the Use By date, but after that you risk food poisoning. Once this date has passed you should not eat the food.

Sell By 

This one is a bit confusing to you as someone shopping, because it is really there to help the shop keep their shelves stocked correctly. You don’t need to worry about this date when wondering whether or not to eat something. 

The smell test 

Lots of people say that if it doesn’t smell bad then it’s still fine to eat, despite the Use By date, but don’t be tempted to do this. There will be times where food is not safe to eat even though they smell fine. There are bacteria that you just cannot smell if they are present. It’s not worth the risk.

And drinks?

 

What about drinks? Yes, the dates apply in the same way for these too. Stick to the dates on the bottles and cartons to be on the safe side.

 

Remember, all of this applies if you are storing your food correctly. You can prolong the life of some foods by freezing them, and again the label on the package should tell you how long you can safely freeze it for.

 

Ultimately, if we can consider what we are going to eat in advance we can help reduce the amount of food that we have that passes these dates. If you know what you need, you can buy what you need, and throw away less food. This can only be a good thing right? 

 

Do carrots really help you see in the dark?

Do carrots really help you see in the dark?

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Living a healthier life through

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Do carrots really help you see in the dark?

“I usually eat four or five raw carrots with my meat, and that is all. I must be part rabbit; I never get bored of raw carrots.”

– Marilyn monroe

The old adage says to eat plenty of carrots and you will see better in the dark. But why is that?⁠

This week the #triviatuesday question on Instagram asked which vitamin supposedly helps you to see in the dark. The correct answer was vitamin A.⁠

Vitamins often have other names, and this one is also known as retinal. Your body needs retinal in order to synthesis rhodopsin, the pigment needed by the eyes to be able to see in dim light. Not enough vitamin A in your diet and you risk developing a condition called nyctalopia, aka night blindness!⁠

That’s not all that vitamin A is good for though. It is also very important for good development, a healthy immune system and healthy skin.⁠

The average adult female requires 0.6mg and adult male requires 0.7mg per day, and this is easily found in a well balanced diet. Good sources include oily fish, milk and cheese, liver, and foods containing beta-carotene. These are yellow, red and green vegetables (for example, those carrots we were talking about, red peppers, and spinach) and yellow fruits (such as mango and apricots)⁠.

So if carrots are a good source of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body, and vitamin A is needed for good vision in dim light, that old wives’ tale certainly does have some truth to it⁠.

Please note:  This post is intended to be general information that applies to people who don’t have diagnosed medical conditions and are not pregnant, and any figures correct at the time of writing. As always, please see a registered professional before making changes to your diet⁠.

There are safe upper limits for the intake of vitamin A. It is not advisable to take supplements and also eat foods high in vitamin A. Please take a look at the page from the NHS which gives guidance on this: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-a.

 

 

Fresh eggs don’t float

Fresh eggs don’t float

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Fresh eggs don’t float

“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.”

– bernard meltzer

It’s true, fresh eggs do not float.

It’s a quick and easy way to test whether or not your eggs are still fresh. 

Pop the egg in a jug of cold water. If it sinks to the bottom and lies down it’s fresh as they come. If it sinks but stands on end it’s still fresh and good for eating.

As the egg ages it will sit higher and higher in the water, so if it floats to the top it’s not fresh at all and so you might want to consider discarding it.

Why is this? It’s because of the amount of air in the egg. When eggs are super fresh they have just a tiny amount of air in, but then over time the amount of air in there increases, and that is what makes it float in the water.

Don’t just throw away your eggs just because you THINK they’re not good. Test them first.