Shopper looking at the label on a bottle

Food date labelling

Food date labelling and storage advice

A key way in which food retailers and brands can help their customers throw away less food is by adopting good practice for the way products are packaged, labelled and priced. It’s also important that they help customers to understand the difference between types of date label, when food is safe to freeze, how to safely defrost, and so on.

Implementing this best practice will help to significantly reduce the 1.8 million tonnes of food thrown away each year from our homes due to it not being used in time and also help deliver a significant increase in surplus food redistribution

FEBRUARY 2023: updated guidance covering uncut fruit and vegetables,  milk, yogurt, and cheese is now available. We have also released a new report on Citizen insights on 'Use By' and 'Best Before' dates on dairy products

On this page you will find key information on how to apply food date labels, storage and freezing advice to ensure food is safe to eat, reduce consumer food waste and remove barriers to redistribution. Category-specific guidance and checklists are included; proven to be effective in helping consumers reduce their household food waste.

* Food law

The guidance or activities around the redistribution of surplus food does not change or replace the normal legal requirements that apply to the provision of food. A food business, which could be any undertaking, whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any activities related to any stage of food production, processing or distribution, is subject to food law - including safety and hygiene; as well as record-keeping and traceability

Local authority Trading Standards Departments and Environmental Health Departments are responsible for advising on and enforcing food law. It is recommended that in the first instance Food Business Operators direct any questions around laws relating to the provision or handling of food that they may have, to their local authority enforcement team.