Can you eat eggs after the best before date? – The Sun

‘BEST before’ dates often scare many of us into throwing out perfectly edible grub.

But it turns out huge numbers of foods are safe to eat after their prime. Here’s the lowdown.

 Eggs can be eaten well beyond their best before date


Eggs can be eaten well beyond their best before dateCredit: Getty

Can you eat eggs after the best before date?

In short, yes. It is safe to eat eggs after the recommended ‘best before’ date.

And if you keep your eggs in the fridge, they are safe to eat up to three weeks after the given date.

However, the taste and texture may be slightly different to what you’re used to, and for certain dishes, freshest is best.

Sarah Howard, head of technical at Heritage Breeds, said: “The best results are always achieved when eggs are as fresh as possible within the best before date.

“Poached eggs in particular can be tricky to get right, and using the freshest eggs will help you get that perfect finish – neat structured whites, surrounding the deep orange yolks.”

Official advice from the Food Standards Agency states that “eggs can be eaten after their best before date, as long as they are cooked thoroughly until both yolk and white are solid, or if they are used in dishes where they will be fully cooked, such as a cake”.

How long are eggs good after the expiration date?

Eggs have a shelf life of 28 days from the date laid.

By law, they must reach the final consumer within 21 days from the date they were laid so Brits have seven days to eat them.

However, with proper storage, eggs can stay fresh for up to five weeks past the date on the carton.

This is because eggs have a ‘best before’ date rather than a ‘use by’ one – which is more to do with safety than quality.

How to tell if your eggs have gone off

Even if you’ve stored your eggs in the fridge, it is always worth checking if they have gone off before eating.

There are several ways to do this, but some are more straightforward than others.

  1. Check for any unpleasant odours when you crack them
  2. Look for a cracked or slimy shell, or unusual colours in the yolk and white
  3. Drop them in a bowl of water – a fresh egg will sink and a bad one will float
  4. Shake it – if you hear liquid swishing around, it is off, but if you hear nothing, it’s usually ok

How long do hard-boiled eggs last?

Hard-boiled eggs should last about one week after being cooked if stored in the fridge.

However, out in the warm, they will only really last a few hours.

How to keep eggs fresh

For maximum freshness, there are several things you can do.

  1. Keep them refrigerated
  2. Store them in airtight containers
  3. Separate whites and eggs if saving leftovers
  4. Leave boiled eggs unpeeled in their shells for as long as possible before eating
  5. Freeze beaten eggs
 There are several ways to keep your eggs fresh, including storing them in the fridge


There are several ways to keep your eggs fresh, including storing them in the fridgeCredit: Getty

What other foods should you ditch and are there any you can keep after the best before date?

While some foods should indeed be chucked not long after their ‘best before’ date has passed, others you can take with a pinch of salt.

The foods can still safely be consumed after their best befores include:

  • Bread – The use by date on bread assumes you’ve left it out in the kitchen. You can extend this by up to two weeks by keeping your loaf in the fridge.
  • Chocolate – As long as your chocolate tastes OK, you’re pretty much good to go. Sometimes a white film might form on older chocolate, which is caused by the sugar crystallising, but it won’t harm you.
  • Hard cheese – Mould is unable to penetrate harder cheeses such as cheddar, so you can cut off any mould and it will be safe to eat.
  • Yogurt – As long the yogurt hasn’t been opened, you can usually enjoy it for two weeks after the best before date.
  • Biscuits – Although your favourite snacks might lose some of their freshness once their best by date has passed, you can eat them for a few weeks after.
  • Dried pasta – While dry pasta usually comes with a long shelf life, you can push this to three years if it is stored in a cool, dry and airtight environment.
  • Canned goods – As long as your cans are undamaged and stored somewhere cool away from direct light, then they can last for around four years.
  • Pickles – Preserved foods such as pickles can last for up to two years past their best before date if they’re stored in an airtight container in the fridge – but they may start to lose some of their crunchiness.
  • Frozen vegetables – If your veg is kept frozen, in theory, it can last indefinitely. While out of date goods won’t hurt you, the texture and taste may change over time.
  • Salad leaves – As long as your leaves haven’t gone mouldy, it’s perfectly safe to eat them past their use by.
  • Spirits – When taken care of properly, spirits such as whiskey can be kept open-endedly and the same goes for gin and vodka.
  • Milk – You may be worried about milk, but as long as it tastes and smells OK you can ignore the date on the carton.

But there are also a some foods you should definitely ditch, including:

  • Fresh berries – Fresh strawberries, blueberries or raspberries can carry a parasite called cyclospora – this can cause diarrhoea, vomiting and other nasty flu-like symptoms. Make sure you freeze any berries you know you won’t eat in time and wash them before eating them.
  • Soft cheese – Soft cheeses, such as brie, may contain Listeria, as well as E. coli —especially if they’re made with unpasteurised milk – so should always be eaten by the “use by”.
  • Fresh meat – Freshly bought meat should either be consumed or frozen (before any bacteria has a chance to multiply).
  • Fresh juices – Raw juices are unpasteurised and far more prone to contamination by bacteria so you should always chuck any that have expired.
  • Sprouts – sprouting greens are grown in a warm, moist environment which means they can be prone to contamination and can grow bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella.
  • Fish – You should never eat off fish. Fish that isn’t fresh has increased chances of giving you listeriosis – a disease that causes abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting.
Man defies one in a septillion odds after cracking open 8 eggs with double yolks

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