Supermarket Morrisons is to scrap “use by” dates on most of its milk in a bid to reduce food waste.
From the end of January, the retailer will instead place “best before” dates on 90% of its own-brand milk and will encourage customers to use a sniff test to check quality.
It believes the move will stop millions of pints of its own-brand milk from being thrown away every year. Recycling charity Wrap says Morrisons is the first supermarket to announce the move.
Ian Goode, senior milk buyer at Morrisons, said: “Wasted milk means wasted effort by our farmers and unnecessary carbon being released into the atmosphere.
“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.
“So, we’re taking a bold step today and asking customers to decide whether their milk is still good to drink.
“Generations before us have always used the sniff test – and I believe we can too.”
A sour aroma or curdled consistency is a sign the milk has been spoiled.
A spokeswoman for the Food Standards Agency said the “best before” label is fine with milk, as opposed to some other foods, and the sniff test should be based on common sense.
Milk is the third most wasted food and drink product in the UK, after potatoes and bread, with around 490 million pints wasted every year, according to Wrap.
It also estimates 85 million pints of milk waste may be due to customers following “use by” labels despite research showing it can be used days after the date.
Marcus Gover, of Wrap, said: “I am delighted that Morrisons is the first UK supermarket to take this important step to help reduce household food waste – it shows real leadership and we look forward to more retailers reviewing date labels on their products and taking action.”