Morrisons to replace use-by dates on milk with a best before date

Morrisons has announced plans to remove use-by dates on their own label milk packaging by 31 January, in a bid to prevent waste.

The large supermarket will instead advise customers to carry out a “sniff test” on fresh milk in order to work out if it’s has gone off or is still useable.

Changes will apply to 90% of milk sold by Morrisons and include Morrisons’ own-brand British and Scottish milks, Morrisons For Farmers milks and Morrisons organic milks in store.

Morrisons senior milk buyer Ian Goode said the changes would reduce impact on the environment.

He said "Wasted milk means wasted effort by our farmers and unnecessary carbon being released into the atmosphere.”

“Good quality well-kept milk has a good few days life after normal “use by” dates -and we think it should be consumed, not tipped down the sink”

“So we’re taking a bold step today and asking customers to decide whether their milk is still good to drink. Generations before us have always used the sniff test- and I believe we can too.”

Morrisons is the first supermarket to make the change. They believe the move could prevent seven million pints of its own milk being thrown away annually.

Use-by dates are about food safety and are used on perishable food and indicates when a product may no longer be safe to eat while best before dates are for quality rather than safety and indicates for when the product should be consumed to get the best quality, taste and texture.

Morrisons reports that its research shows milk does not need to be labelled as a perishable food.

In a statement, the supermarket said: "The dates on the milk will stay the same - it is what we are asking customers to do which is changing."
Best before dates can be used on milk depending on the processing and type, but there must be clear labelling and the dates printed on all food and drink must be based on robust evidence. When dealing with food in general, sniffing is not an appropriate safety test, especially with products that could cause food poisoning.

The removal of use-by dates follows a commitment by Morrisons to reduce food waste in stores by 50% by 2030. The supermarket has already replaced use-by dates on some of its own-label yogurt and hard cheeses in 2020.

Milk is linked with high carbon emissions because of the large amount of resources that are required to feed cows.

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