M&S milk

Source: M&S

Use by dates are being removed from all M&S RSPCA Assured Select Farms British and organic fresh milk

M&S is swapping ‘use by’ dates on milk for ‘best before’ dates, in a move intended to prevent unnecessary waste.

It means customers will be able to use their judgement before throwing away milk, according to the retailer, since best before dates relate to food quality rather than safety.

M&S said the change had been enabled by a combination of improved shelf life and overall quality of milk in recent years.

Use by dates are being removed from all its RSPCA Assured Select Farms British and organic fresh milk in UK stores this week.

The retailer cited data from Wrap suggesting nearly 490 million pints of milk were wasted each year by consumers.

“We know tackling food waste is a priority for our customers and we’re confident that these small changes to the packaging of our RSPCA Assured fresh milk, will make a big difference – as seen when we led the way in the removal of best before dates on our fruit & vegetables,” said M&S director of corporate affairs Victoria McKenzie-Gould.

Wrap director of collaboration and change Catherine David said: “Milk is the third most wasted food in the home behind potatoes and bread, with around 490 million pints poured down the drain every year – 18 and a half per household – worth £270m.

“The main reason is not drinking before the use by date.

“Wrap’s joint best practice with the Food Standards Agency, Defra and dairy UK states to only apply a use by date when required for food safety reasons, and it’s fantastic to see M&S – a Courtauld 2030 signatory – making this switch.

“This type of change to labelling is fundamental in helping people reduce household food waste, which currently tops more than 6.6 million tonnes each year across the UK.”

It comes after Tesco and Asda both ditched use by dates on a number of own-label yoghurt lines earlier this year.

M&S swapped coloured plastic milk bottle caps with easier-to-recycle colourless ones earlier this year, a step also taken by Aldi, Waitrose and Co-op.