How would axing best-before dates impact your cold room?
With household and restaurant food waste at an all-time high, there has been some media debate about whether best-before dates should be shelved completely. How would this impact your cold storage at your restaurant or bar?
Why shelve best-before dates?
Best-before dates, unlike use-by dates, are a guideline. A best-before date simply tells a consumer or chef when an item is in it’s best condition; it does not mean that it will be dangerous to consume after that date. Many commentators say that it would make more sense to smell and look at food to assess whether it is okay to consume, and Tesco are leading the way by discarding best-before dates on fruit and vegetables.
It is important to note that this does not apply to highly perishable food or food that is likely to harbour dangerous pathogens, such as dairy, meat, fish and eggs, which will also retain use-by dates.
How will it affect my cold storage?
Whether you get by with a small fridge or use large walk in cold rooms like those sold at https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/cold-rooms, there’s no doubt that this change to the food packaging law could affect how you manage stock.
Large restaurants with a high turnover of stock usually use food well before the best-before date and will not be impacted at all. However, restaurants that are smaller or perhaps have ingredients that are only used in a couple of recipes may have more trouble adapting. If your fridge-freezer or walk-in cold room loses power, not having best-before dates may impact your ability to determine what you need to cook and use up straight away. Furthermore, products you are not likely to use for some time and those that you use sparingly over time will need to be monitored.
Ultimately, it will mean being more organised. Consider keeping a diary and noting down the date you bought or opened this stock. You should also ensure that you always rotate stock properly, putting new items to the back of the storage and bringing older ones forward.
As you can see, this change is unlikely to have a massive effect on the way you run your cold storage. However, it may mean being a little more organised when it comes to certain items.