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Thousands of adults across Britain admit they struggle to understand all of the labels on food and drink packaging, resulting in many binning perfectly good produce, new research by Arla Foods has revealed.

The poll of 2,000 consumers found there was uncertainty across the board, with the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates, as well as storage information and even the salt, sugar and fat content leaving 85 per cent of the nation confused.

The study revealed that whilst three-quarters (77 per cent) of respondents check food and drink packaging before they purchase, only 15 per cent are confident they can decipher everything on the label. This includes ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates with over a third (34 per cent) of Brits unsure of the difference, and 11 per cent believing them to be the same thing.

This confusion means a third (34 per cent) end up binning food if past its ‘best before’ date, while another 38 per cent do the same once the product has passed its ‘use by’ date.

More than half (59 per cent) of respondents assumed milk is unsafe to drink once the date has passed, and 14 per cent admitting they would bin it without checking to see if it could still be used.

However, soppers are getting more familiar with fruit and veg, with two-thirds (66 per cent) admitting they would happily consume once the date has passed. Also, likely to stay in the cupboard past its ‘best before’ date was tinned food (70 per cent), sweets and chocolate (72 per cent) and dried products such as nuts and cereal (71 per cent).

Kate Quilton, Food Journalist, said, ‘There is no reason to throw away food or drink that is past its best before date – in most cases it’s perfectly fine to still enjoy rather than waste it. A simple check or sniff of the food product will give you a good indication as to whether the product is edible.'

(source: Arla, image: pixabay)