UK supermarket to remove ‘Use By’ dates from milk

Morrisons supermarkets will remove the ‘Use By’ dates on 90% of its own-brand milk from January 31, to encourage customers to use a ‘sniff test‘ and help to reduce food waste in the home. The dates will be scrapped from the chain’s own-brand British and Scottish milks, Morrisons ‘For Farmers’ milks and Morrisons organic milks in store, supplied by Arla farmers.

Morrisons will instead be encouraging its customers to use a simple ‘sniff test’ to check if their milk is still good to consume. The ‘Best Before’ dates will remain, in order to indicate when they should drink it by to get the best taste. “Generations before us have always used the sniff test – and I believe we can too,” said Ian Goode, senior milk buyer at Morrisons. The Morrisons milk sniff test:

  • Hold the milk bottle to your nose – if it smells sour then it may have spoiled;
  • Look at your milk – if you can see that it has curdled then it is not right.
“Good quality well-kept milk has a good few days life after normal ‘Use By’ dates – and we think it should be consumed not tipped down the sink,” Goode continued. “So we’re taking a bold step today and asking customers to decide whether their milk is still good to drink.
Wasted milk means wasted effort by our farmers and unnecessary carbon being released into the atmosphere.”
According to a 2019 report by Feedback Global, milk is the third most wasted food an drink product in the UK just after potatoes and bread, with around 490 million pints wasted every year.

The sustainability charity WRAP estimates that 85 million pints of milk wasted may be a result of customers sticking to ’Use By’ labels or ‘once opened use within’ guidance – when products may still be good to consume.

Marcus Gover, CEO at WRAP said he is “delighted” that Morrisons has taken this step. “It is fantastic to see Morrisons, as a Courtauld signatory, making this change – giving people the confidence to use their judgment and consume more of the milk they buy,” he said. “It shows real leadership and we look forward to more retailers reviewing date labels on their products and taking action.” Morrisons previously scrapped the ‘Use By’ dates across its own-brand yogurt and hard cheese ranges in 2020.