The label has faded to illegibility, there’s a shameful layer of dust on the lid, and the ‘best before’ stamp predates your firstborn child.
Who hasn’t got some of these ancient food relics hanging around at the back of the cupboard, or buried deep in the chest freezer?
So, what should you do with a can of six-years-out-of-date tuna? Most of us, unsurprisingly, favour caution. Throwaway Britons are said to dump more than seven million tonnes of food every year.
‘Use by’ is very clear, and typically found on meat and fresh foods that spoil quickly. But ‘best before’ is usually just a mark of quality such as flavour and texture. Meanwhile, ‘sell by’ dates are aimed at encouraging storekeepers to shift stock.