Expert reveals how to check if your food is safe to eat after its best before date

8 October 2020, 14:41 | Updated: 9 October 2020, 09:26

An expert has revealed how to tell if food is off
An expert has revealed how to tell if food is off. Picture: PA Images/Getty Images
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

An expert has given her top tips on how to tell if your food has gone off.

Despite our best efforts, thousands of families across the country are guilty of not using up all of the food in their homes before it's ‘best before’ date.

In fact, just here in the UK, we throw away 6.6 million tonnes of household food waste a year.

But if you find it difficult to know whether your left overs are safe to eat, now a food waste expert has shared her tips on how you can tell if something has gone off.

Co-founder of fruit and veg delivery box company ODDBOX, Emilie Vanpoperinghe explains that best before dates don’t actually tell us when our food is unsafe to eat, but are an indication of their freshness.

You can tell if your fruit is off by feeling it
You can tell if your fruit is off by feeling it. Picture: PA Images

Whereas use-by dates show when food is dangerous to eat after an estimated time.

So, when it comes to eggs, Emilie advises the ‘egg’ test which involves putting you egg in a glass of water.

If it sinks to the bottom, it’s still fine to eat but if it floats, it should be thrown away as air builds up inside the egg over time and will cause it to rise to the top.

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Meanwhile, the only test that needs to be done on milk is smelling it to see if it has gone sour.

Sticking with dairy products, hard cheese, like Cheddar, will go mouldy over time, but Emilie says you are safe to just cut off the mould and eat the rest.

However, if soft cheese has gone mouldy, this should be binned.

When it comes to fruit and veggies, these can be checked for bruises, while any rotting or mouldy items should be chucked away.

Emilie does have a handy trick for reviving wilted veg such as celery, spring onions, carrots, lettuce and beetroots.

If they have lost their moisture and look a bit floppy, you can bring them back to life by simply putting them in water.

As for bruised fruit, you can cut off the brown parts and eat the rest, or chuck out any that have gone really soft.

It’s also possible to save avocados by mashing the soft ones up to make guacamole, however if they have gone brown they should be thrown away.

Soft avocados can be made into guacamole
Soft avocados can be made into guacamole. Picture: PA Images

When potatoes get older they tend to sprout, but these can be cut off and then they are still fine to eat.

You’re best throwing out any that have mould on them or have gone green and very soft.

It’s easy to tell if bread has gone off by checking for mould. To make it last longer, simply freeze it and take out a couple of slices at a time.

Fresh bread is more likely to go hard and stale, but this can be turned into breadcrumbs for cooking.

Meat and fish usually comes with a ‘use-by’ date which should always be followed.

It’s easy to tell if these have gone off by smelling them or checking for any discolouring.

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