McDonald’s has claimed it still sells food past its “best before” date because it reduces waste.
It is not illegal to sell food that has exceeded its “best before” date in the UK, with the “use by” date the actual point it becomes unsafe to consume.
It has emerged that the fast-food chain had shipped items to restaurants that appeared to be more than a month past their “best before” dates, but the takeaway giant responded saying it was intentional.
A spokesperson told Mirror Money : “In order to control stock levels, McDonald’s supply chain sets internal ‘Best before’ timeframes that are much shorter than the required ‘use by’ dates for products.
“While preparing to re-open our restaurants earlier this year, we extended the ‘Best before’ date on a small selection of our products, to ensure we reduced any unnecessary food waste by keeping these products in our supply chain.”
Mountains of food that would have otherwise gone to waste during lockdown was redistributed and donated to those in need, with more than 400 tonnes of food and 100,000 litres of milk being handed out over the summer.
McDonald’s added that its internal “best before” dates run on a much shorter time frame than many other places.
It had claimed Chicken Nuggets had a four-month “best before” window at McDonald’s, while similar products in supermarkets leave as long as 18 months before they are rated as past their best.
McDonald’s said it would use up all its products long before they reached their “use by” dates.
“The products we extended will all be used comfortably within their ‘Use By’ date,” the spokesperson said.
“We worked closely with our suppliers to ensure that food safety and quality were not compromised in any way by this extension.”
The chain said it will provide one million meals for families in need in the coming weeks through a new partnership with FareShare.
UK chief executive Paul Pomroy said: “As a business we are committed to supporting and serving the communities in which we operate.
“In these challenging times, we know it’s more important than ever to support those most in need.”