Food & Wine

A supermarket in Britain has removed use-by dates in favour of the 'sniff test'

A supermarket in Britain has removed use-by dates in favour of the 'sniff test'

Image: Getty 

Grocery chain ‘Morrisons’ is being slammed after announcing a decision to scrap “use-by” dates on milk, instead asking customers to use a “sniff test” to determine if the milk has gone bad.

The supermarket will switch to using “best before” dates on 90% of its home brand milk packaging from the end of January, The Sun reports.

The date will remain the same but Morrisons is asking customers to not automatically assume the milk is off, but instead sniff to see whether it has expired first.

Best before dates indicate that a product will have a better quality if consumed before that day, but use by means food might not be safe to eat after that point and runs the risk of making the customer sick.

Morrisons said the move is intended to reduce food wastage, as millions of litres of milk are thrown away each year.

It is estimated that 48 million litres of milk are wasted due to customers following “use-by” labels.

Research shows milk is often fine to be used days after the use-by date the supermarket said. So yes, customers are being encouraged to smell their milk to check if it has actually gone bad before throwing it away.

A sour aroma or curdled consistency are both signs milk has been spoiled.

Shoppers took to Twitter to complain about the decision, with many asking how they can smell the milk while in store.

However, Morrisons said that won’t be necessary because it won’t sell milk that is near the best before date.

One customer said: “So, Morrisons – can we open the bottle in order to sniff it before purchase? Or do we have to go home, sniff it, then bring it back if it’s off?”

Another added: “I can open the milk whilst still in Morrisons to check then I guess?”

Others pointed out that one of the main symptoms of Covid is losing your sense of smell.

“Generations before us have always used the sniff test – and I believe we can too” According to Ian Goode, senior milk buyer at Morrisons.

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