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HomeDairySupermarket scraps ‘use-by’ dates from milk for ‘sniff test’
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Supermarket scraps ‘use-by’ dates from milk for ‘sniff test’

Morrisons will scrap ‘use by’ dates on some of its milk products later this month.

Instead, the UK supermarket will switch to ‘best before’ dates only and encourage customers to use a sniff test.

The purpose of the move is to help reduce food waste in homes. According to studies, the UK wastes 490 million pints of milk every year.

Morrisons has committed to reducing food waste in stores by 50% by 2030.

It will scrap ‘use by’ dates from its own brand British and Scottish milks, Morrisons for farmer’s milks and Morrisons’ organic milks in-store – supplied into Morrisons by Arla farmers.

The chain has yet to convert Morrisons’ South West milk and The Best Jersey milk.

Morrisons will instead encourage its customers to use a simple sniff test to check if their milk is still good to consume.

The milk packaging will show ‘best before’ dates to indicate to customers when they should drink it by – to get the “best” taste.

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According to the supermarket, unlike some other fresh products, drinking milk after a ‘best before’ date is not a food safety issue.

Research shows fresh milk can often last a number of days past the ‘use by’ date on the bottle.

However, the statement added, that UK customers are routinely throwing away milk – as they incorrectly believe the milk is unsafe to drink.

WRAP estimates that 85 million pints of milk waste may be a result of customers sticking to ’use by’ labels or ‘once opened use within’ guidance – when products may still be good to consume.

The milk sniff test:

  • Hold the milk bottle to your nose – if it smells sour then it may have spoiled;
  • Look at your milk – if you can see that it has curdled then it is not right.

Ian Goode, senior milk buyer at Morrisons, 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. We think it should be consumed, not tipped down the sink.”

“So we are 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.”

Marcus Gover, CEO at WRAP, said it fantastic to see Morrisons, as a “Courtauld signatory, making this change – giving people the confidence to use their judgment and consume more of the milk they buy”.

Morrisons has already scrapped ‘use by’ dates across some of its own-brand yoghurt and hard cheese ranges in 2020.

How to make your milk last longer: Tips from Morrisons:
  • Put your milk in a cool bag when bringing it back from the supermarket;
  • Refrigerate your milk as soon as you get your shopping home;
  • Maintain your fridge at between 1- 4 degrees Celsius;
  • Never drink from your milk bottle;
  • Close your milk bottle immediately after use;
  • Do not leave your milk out of the fridge.
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