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Almost a quarter of our kitchen cupboards are out of date

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The average kitchen cupboard is stocked up with 57 items, 13 of which are suspected of being out of date, a study has revealed. Researchers have found that items such as condiments, tinned food, dressings and dips are most likely to be out of date.

While herbs and spices, vegetables and stock cubes were also said to be past their use by date.

The study commissioned by Healthspan to support the launch of their new packaging line to retain freshness found out of date frozen food, pickle and fruit are unnecessarily clogging up the nation’s fridges and freezers.

Robert Hobson, Head of Nutrition at Healthspan said:

“Keeping food fresh is key especially if we are to retain the goodness and nutrient value as well as not becoming ill by eating out of date foods such as uncooked meats.

“Eating certain out of date foods will not cause too much harm but we must we careful especially as we head into early summer.

“As well as foods, vitamins and supplements also need to be kept fresh to retain their nutrient value so purchase products that are in foil sealed packaging to retain their nutrient value.

“Freezing is a food trend on the rise, as we are becoming more conscious about wastage.

“Planning meals and only buying what you need could help with minimising wastage and prevent food drifting past their best before dates.

“If we stop buying food ‘just in case’ then we wouldn’t let so much go to waste.

“It’s time to stop buying things on a whim and give our medicine cabinets and kitchen cupboards a good old spring clean.”

But the poll found risky Brits have admitted they would eat certain items even if they knew they were out of date.

Condiments, tinned food, fruit and vegetables are worth taking a chance on if they are past the best before date.

Surprisingly one in five Brits would be willing to eat eggs if they were out of date – up to three days would be the longest they would risk it by.

And one in ten Brits would be willing to try eating uncooked meat four to six days past the use by date.

One in six would be willing to try mayonnaise past its use by date, and one in seven would risk eating a ready meal after the recommended time.

Finding rotting vegetables at the back of a cupboard is a regular occurrence for one in five households, as a proper clear out only happens once every five months.

In fact, one in ten have never cleaned out their medicine cabinet and more than one in five have only checked it in the last five years.

Almost a quarter of Brits would be willing to risk taking vitamins or supplements that were out of date, but many don’t even check the dates.

But those who want to try and keep food fresh, tend to do so by either freezing what they want to keep or wrap it all in cling film and put it in the refrigerator.

And the majority of Brits will remember to store their meat separately than together.

The medicine cabinet has also been found to receive little attention when it comes to checking the use by date of vitamins and supplements.

Dr Sarah Brewer, GP, said:

“Always check use-by-dates.

“In most cases an out of date supplement won’t cause any harm, but the levels of vitamins will be reduced and in the case of herbals, the level of active plant substances will have deteriorated so a dose no longer supplies the same benefits.

“Don’t panic. foil-sealed medicines and supplements will generally keep fresher for longer than those supplied in a bottle or tub.”


1. Condiments
2. Tinned food
3. Dressings and dips
4. Herbs and spices
5. Vegetables
6. Stock cubes
7. Frozen foods
8. Pickle
9. Fruit
10. Eggs
11. Tomato puree
12. Dried pasta
13. Potatoes
14. Mayonnaise
15. Cooked meats
16. Olives
17. Tea / coffee
18. Piccalilli
19. Uncooked meats
20. Vitamins