Charity ‘extremely concerned’ as Morrisons removes ‘use by’ dates from milk

From January 31 Morrisons is scrapping “use by” dates on the majority of its own brand milk and encouraging its customers to use a sniff test.

By Jessica Barton
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 11:14 am
Almost 300,000 tonnes of milk is wasted from UK homes each year, worth £270million, with the main reason being that it isn’t used in time.
Almost 300,000 tonnes of milk is wasted from UK homes each year, worth £270million, with the main reason being that it isn’t used in time.

In a plea to help to reduce food waste, the supermarket is removing “use by” from its own brand milk, Scottish milks, Morrisons For Farmers milks and Morrisons organic milks in store, supplied into Morrisons by Arla farmers. Morrisons South West milk and The Best Jersey milk are yet to be converted.

Morrisons will instead encourage its customers to use a simple sniff test to check if their milk is still good to consume. The milk packaging will show “best before” dates to indicate to customers when they should drink it, to get the best taste.

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. Morrisons anticipates this move will stop millions of pints of its own brand milk from being thrown away every year.

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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 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.”

However, many people with a smell impairment, and who cannot carry out the sniff test, are concerned that removing the “use by” date from the milk products will put them at risk of food poisoning.

Smell and taste charity Fifth Sense has expressed its concerns about the removal of the “use by” date and has advised people who are concerned to reach out for help.

Duncan Boak, chairman and founder of Fifth Sense, said: “I am extremely concerned about the decision taken by Morrisons to remove sell-by dates from milk products and instead ask customers to use a ‘sniff test’ to detect sour milk. This excludes many vulnerable people with an impaired sense of smell across the UK.

“We represent a large body of people who are at risk of being unable to smell hazards such as gas, smoke and spoiled food. This number has increased significantly over the last two years due to people experiencing smell disorders as a result of Covid-19.

“We are already working in partnership with Cadent, the UK’s biggest gas distribution network, to help raise awareness of the importance of the sense of smell from a safety perspective, and the news about Morrisons’ decision serves to highlight the need for this important work.

“We have produced lots of resources as part of our Learning Zone including information sheet eight, SafetySense, which was designed to help people affected by smell disorders with concerns about safety and worries around food poisoning. This can be downloaded from our website.”

If you have been affected by this story, or have concerns about the removal of “use by” dates from Morrisons own brand milk, contact Fifth Sense for support: email [email protected]