UK supermarket chain Morrisons has come under fire for its decision to remove ‘best before’ dates on cartons of milk – instead, asking customers to perform a ‘sniff test’ to see if the dairy had gone bad.
The announcement of the “Daring step” Over the weekend, the retailer said it would instead use “best before” labels on around 90% of its brand’s milk packaging from the end of the month. The channel claimed that the move would reduce wasted milk.
Although the terms “best before” and “best before” are often used interchangeably, the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) notes on its website that the labels “best before” concern food quality while “consumption” dates are a food safety issue. According to FSA guidelines, milk consumed after a “best before” date is “safe” but it’s “The flavor and texture might not be as good”.
The agency specifically warns consumers not to “trust the sniff test” to determine the quality of food since people “cannot see, smell or taste the bacteria that cause food poisoning.” Morrisons, however, said it would encourage buyers to take a whiff to check out.
I’d be interested to see how many times you can test a four quart bottle of milk at Morrisons before you’re asked to leave. You won’t know it’s off until you come and use it at home surely?
– Blurry man (@ Fuzzy_man74) January 10, 2022
The retailer told the BBC that his research apparently showed that milk did not need to be labeled as a perishable food, but the FSA told the public broadcaster that the labels and dates printed on all foods and drinks should be based on “Solid evidence concerning the product concerned”.
Because “Generations before us have always used the sniffle test”, The chain’s main milk buyer Ian Goode told media that Morrisons “Believe (s) that we can too”. He described it as a “Daring step” to ask “It’s up to customers to decide if their milk is still safe to drink. “
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The move – which Morrisons said would save seven million pints (3.3 million liters) of his brand’s milk from being wasted each year – has been hailed by the Wrap Recycling charity. The non-profit organization said some 490 million pints (232 million liters) of milk are wasted each year in the UK – of which around 85 million pints (40 million liters) are said to have been paid due to ‘use by’ labels.
However, the majority of shoppers complained about the move on social media, with several asking if stores would let them smell milk before purchasing. Others pointed out that the company should “think again” since loss of taste and smell is a common symptom of Covid-19.
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