Morrisons scraps use-by dates on milk

By Gwen Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Morrisons is to scrap use-by dates on its own-label milk products
Morrisons is to scrap use-by dates on its own-label milk products

Related tags: use-by, Dairy

Morrisons has announced plans to scrap use-by dates on its own-label milk packaging by the end of January, in a bid to prevent waste.

The big four supermarket will instead advise customers to carry out a ‘sniff test’ on fresh milk in order to work out if it’s has gone off or is still useable.

Changes will apply to Morrisons’ own-brand British and Scottish milks, Morrisons For Farmers ​milks and Morrisons organic milks in store. Milk supplied into the supermarket by Arla, Morrisons South West and The Best Jersey are yet to be converted.

Environmental impact

Morrisons senior milk buyer Ian Goode said the changes would reduce impact on the environment – wasted milk meant wasted effort by producers 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,”​ he added.

“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.”

The removal of use-by dates followed a commitment by Morrisons to reduce food waste in stores by 50% by 2030. The supermarket has already scrapped use-by dates on some of its own-label yogurt and hard cheeses in 2020.

First steps

Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) chief executive Marcus Gover said the move to scrap use-by dates was an important step to help reduce household food waste and looked forward to other food companies following the supermarket’s example.

“Making improvement to labelling forms an important parts of WRAP’s efforts under the Courtauld Commitment 2030 to reduce household food waste,”​ he continued.

“It is fantastic to see Morrisons, as a Courtauld signatory, making this change – giving people the confidence to use their judgement and consumer more of the milk they buy.”

Meanwhile, Marcel Koks, Industry & Solution Strategy Director for Food & Beverage at Infor, urged manufacturers to address the customer confusion around use-by​dates in order to prevent food waste.

Related topics: Dairy, Packaging & Labelling

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10 comments

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Test freshness of milk

Posted by Mr V.Forrester,

If it floats,or curdels on a freshly made pot of tea, the milk has gone off.

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Will there be a Best Before date

Posted by Laura,

Presumably there will be a Best Before date instead? I certainly won't be buying milk with no date at all! Who knows how long it's been lurking at the back of the fridge. Best Before sounds far more sensible for milk through.

Interesting that a supermarket can choose? I thought Use By was about safety.

This policy does make sense but some of us have problems with sensitivities. Sense of smell that doesn't work right or, in my case, even the smell of fresh milk makes me feel queasy.

Off milk will make you mildly ill by the way. As I found out recently with cramps and nausea.

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The worst idea imaginable

Posted by TonyH,

Use by dates are only a guide. Educate people about that, that's fine, it's silly to throw away milk that's obviously still fresh, or indeed any other product that's clearly still in good condition. The most important part of having a use by date is for the consumer to identify produce that's already ancient on the supermarket shelf - abolishing it on milk means the supermarket can just leave it there until it's sold or goes solid, hahahaha, or green :o) No thank you Morrissons, no date, no purchase.

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