FSA News Item, 14 December 2011
As part of a drive to cut food waste, the Food Standards Agency has revised its advice on using eggs after their ‘best before’ date. The advice now is that, providing the eggs are cooked thoroughly, they can be eaten a day or two after their ‘best before’ date.
Previously, the advice was that eggs should not be eaten after their ‘best before’ date, as eggs can sometimes contain salmonella bacteria. If salmonella is present in eggs, it could multiply to high levels and cause food poisoning. But salmonella contamination levels in UK-produced eggs are low, and salmonella is killed by thorough cooking.
This is why the advice is now that eggs can be eaten after their ‘best before' date, as long as they are cooked thoroughly until both yolk and white are solid, or if they are used in dishes where they will be fully cooked, such as a cake.
Apart from eggs, most foods can be eaten safely after the ‘best before’ date, as this is mostly about quality rather than safety. Past this date, it doesn't mean that the food will be harmful, rather that its flavour, colour or texture might begin to deteriorate.
However, it is still important to remember that if food has a ‘use by’ date, then it shouldn’t be used after this date as it could put your health at risk.