Labelling guidance

Best practice on food date labelling and storage advice.


Food labelling material

Here are highlighted the differences between date labels on food. Then there are links and materials you can use to better undesrtand the regulations and spread the message.



  • there is no risk in consuming products past the best before date

  • you may still sell the products without any limitations

  • the British Food Standard Agency says: “Except for eggs, best before dates are about quality, not safety”

  • when the date is passed, it doesn’t mean that the food will be harmful, but it might begin to lose its flavour and texture


  • must be sold and (in most of the cases) used before the final date

  • may be dangerous to your health when expired

Flyer + Food Standard Agency leaflet (to keep at homa and distribute to people)

Food labelling official information (to get more information):

PDF DEFRA - complete documentation (to approach shops and wholesalers):

Videos & presentations


Coming soon!

Local council locator

Here you can find your local council starting from your postcode: Find Local Council


  1. What date marks are legal in the UE?
    There are only two legal definitions of dates possible in European Union:
    - Use by
    - Best Before
    All other date marks you can find on the labels (e.g. sell by, display until) are just unbinding information for internal use for supermarket’s staff.

  1. Do all date marks on food mean the expiring date?
    No, the only expiring date is ‘use by’. All other date marks are merely indicative of a possible quality or internal information for distributors.

  1. What’s the difference between ‘best before’ date and ‘use by’ date?
    While "Use by" is the actual expiry date, Best Before is a quality indicator and does not mean the food could become dangerous or unhealty after that date.

  1. Is it safe to eat products that passed the ‘best before’ date?

Yes, it is absolutely safe although you need to apply your common sense the same way as you do in a case of “in-date” products, for example, you need to check about the damages of the packages, the presence of mould, weird smell or taste.

  1. What are the BBP aims?

Our main goal is to reduce the amount of food that is being wasted because of misunderstanding of the proper meaning of dates stated on the food labels.

In order to reach this main goal we:

    • Educate both food distributors and the consumers about the possibility of further distribution and edibility of food approaching or past its best before date.

    • Redistribute the food that it’s meant to go to landfill.

    • Collaborate with other organisations acting in favour of the environment.

  1. Which are your sources of information?

We base our message on the information provided by DEFRA, NHS and EU commission. (see our materials section)

  1. How your source prove their information?

- Directive 2000/13/EC

- Food Labelling Regulations (1996)

  1. How can I donate food to BBP?

Please, read the ‘what can you do?’ section on the website for business, consumers and charities.

  1. How can I become a volunteer?

Please contact us following the instructions available on ‘what can you do?’ menu and tell us about your background, views and experience.

  1. How can I help if I don’t have much spare time?

You can:

- Spread our message (see our materials)

- Like us on social networks (🐤Twitter 📘 Facebook 📷Instagram).

- Follow our newsletters: Friends 📧📧 | News 📧

- Donate some amount towards running cost. (Here)

  1. Where do you get the food that you redistribute?

We have a establishes relations with severals food distributors (both retailers and wholesalers and manufacturers) who donate us theirs productos on the regular basis.

  1. How and when did BBP start?

Best Before project started back in 2011 as an informal group of people concerned about the vast amount of food being wasted because of the confusion about the date marks on food.

  1. Where can I get some food?

Please, check our map or plan zheroes, or foodcycle, consider that we don't focus on providing food supply to individuals.

  1. Where are your warehouses?

Please check our map.

  1. Where do you get your funding from?

From generous people like you! :) - Here you can donate

  1. How can I set up a local team?
    Please, contact us and we will provide you training and more detailed information.