I was reading the waste and recycling section of a local council website today in preparation for visiting one of the primary schools in their area. In their food waste guidelines they give some explanation of ‘Use By’ and ‘Best Before’ dates.
The website quite rightly explained that it is the ‘Use By’ dates that you need to pay attention to, but ‘Best Before’ dates don’t imply a health risk after that date. However, I was surprised to read this:
“Most foods can be eaten after the ‘best before’ date, except for eggs. Never eat eggs after their best before date, or other products after their ‘use by’ date.”
I didn’t think this information about eggs was correct. Having grown up with free-range chickens at home I’ve always gone by the float/sink rule. You submerse your eggs in a bowl of water and if they sink, then they are good to eat but if they float then they are not. Floating eggs go straight out onto the compost heap, because they’ll stink if they break.
Food Aware tweeted me some information about eggs and their best before dates. The most recent information from the Food Standards Agency is that eggs can be used a few days after the ‘best before’ date…
‘providing the eggs are cooked thoroughly until yolk and white are both solid, or if they are used in dishes where they will be fully cooked, such as a cake. After the ‘best before’ date, the quality of the egg will deteriorate and if any salmonella bacteria are present, they could multiply to high levels and could make you ill.’
Did you know that you can also freeze eggs. So if you have some eggs that you’ve had a while you can beat them and store them the freezer until you need them – great if you have eggs unused before holidays, for instance. Frozen egg whites are particularly good for meringues as they whisk up well.
Here’s the Food Standards Agency’s information on Use By/Best Before Dates: http://www.food.gov.uk/about-us/about-the-fsa/faqsconsumer/bestbeforeuseby#.Ujle-pV5n8s