Food Safety

7 June 2020 is World Food Safety Day, which aims to create awareness and inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks. Whether you’re looking for different ways to use tinned tomatoes or making chocolate cornflake cakes with the kids, the coronavirus pandemic has seen a resurgence of home cooking and baking. But how well do you know your way around the kitchen when it comes to food safety? Below, we are answering some food safety questions which aim to help you avoid throwing away good food unnecessarily.

Two main labels to look for on food packaging are:

  • Best before (BBE) – these dates relate to food quality. Food with a ‘best before’ date can be sold, redistributed and consumed after the date and should be stored in a suitable condition. After the ‘best before’ date food may begin to lose flavour and the texture may alter.
  • Use by – these dates relate to food safety. Food cannot be sold, redistributed or consumed after this date. You could be putting your health at risk if you consume products past their ‘use-by’ dates.

A use-by date is the most important date to remember. Foods can be eaten until the use-by date but not after. You will see use by dates on food that goes off quickly, such as meat products or ready-to-eat salads. After the use-by date, don't eat it, cook it or freeze it. The food could be unsafe to eat or drink, even if it has been stored correctly and looks and smells fine. A lot of foods, including meat and milk, can be frozen before the use-by date though so plan ahead.

Your questions answered:

When eggs float, are they bad?

Don’t use the egg float test to determine safety. Eggs are safe to eat for a couple of days after the best before date if they are cooked thoroughly.

Brown eggs

Is food safe if the can has a dent in it?


If the dent on the can is shallow and there are no other obvious signs that the can is damaged (such as the can expanding or leaking) your food should remain fit to eat.

How long can you safely eat rice for after cooking?

Keep rice in the fridge for no more than one day. When you reheat rice always check the dish is steaming hot all the way through.

Can you eat potatoes when they start to sprout?

Remove any sprouts on potatoes before using them and remember to cut off any green or rotten bits.

Potatoes with sprouts

Can you eat brown bananas?

Fruit or vegetables that are a bit overripe, such as wrinkly carrots, brown bananas and slightly mushy strawberries, can be eaten normally (providing they are not mouldy). Alternatively, they can be used in cooking, baking or smoothies.

Brown bananas