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Nearly half of consumers ignore use-by-dates on food

NEARLY half of consumers ignore use-by dates on food with experts warning they are putting their health at risk, a report has revealed.

Dr Wayne Anderson, food science and standards director, said food may be badly contaminated even if it appeared good enough to eat.

"We would caution people to be careful in this regard as food products contaminated with harmful bacteria may look okay and taste and smell no different when they have gone beyond their use-by date," he said.

Use-by and best-before dates on food packaging differ. Best-before refers to the date until which the food retains its specific properties. The health benefits of vegetables, for example, are greater prior to the best-before date but they may still be okay to eat for a period afterwards.

Use-by, however, refers to perishable foods which, after their expiry, can be dangerous from a microbiological point of view.

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