McDonald’s is using food past its ‘best before’ dates in its meals, according to reports.
The fast food giant is said to be using it for thousands of meals, after it was forced to shut due to the coronavirus pandemic.
All of the chain’s 1,350 restaurants closed their doors when the UK went into lockdown in March.
The firm is now using frozen grub from when branches were shut in order to reduce waste, the Sun reported.
Although the items are past the ‘best before’ date they are safe to use.
It is only when food reaches the ‘use by’ date that the law requires it to be thrown away.
Boxes of chicken were spotted in October with a ‘best before’ date from September 7.
McDonald’s said it had extended best before dates on a “small selection” of frozen products.
This was done while preparations were under way for restaurants to be reopened earlier this year.
A spokesman for McDonald’s said: “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.
"The products we extended will all be used comfortably within their ‘Use By’ date.
"We worked closely with our suppliers to ensure that food safety and quality were not compromised in any way by this extension."
The spokesman added: “These moves were in line with industry wide changes being made to deal with the unprecedented nature of the Covid-19 crisis.
"We worked closely with all relevant authorities including the Food Standards Agency and Environmental Health Office, and industry bodies to ensure this approach was in line with industry guidance.”
Government guidelines state best before dates are about ‘quality’ and not safety.
The Food Standards Agency says: “The food will be safe to eat after this date but may not be at its best.
“Its flavour and texture might not be as good.”