In dialing back some on food waste without giving up too much on food safety, the Food Standards Agency for the United Kingdom this week changed its advice on eggs.

Previously, the FSA advised consumer to NOT eat eggs after their “best before” date had expired, because of concerns about possible Salmonella contamination. The reasoning was that if Salmonella were present in the eggs, by the time the “best before” date had passed, the bacteria would multiply to high enough levels to result in food poisoning.

Now, however, that advice has been changed because the FSA has found that Salmonella levels in UK-produced eggs are low and Salmonella is best killed by cooking. The new advice is that eggs may be eaten after the “best before” date so long as they are fully cooked.

FSA says neither eggs or any other food should be used after the “use by” date has passed.

As in the United States, “best before” dates in the UK are mostly about quality, not food safety.   After the “best before” date, a food’s color, texture, or flavor might vary, but not its safety.

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that 142,000 illnesses a year are caused by consuming eggs contaminated with Salmonella.

 Read more about “Playing it Safe With Eggs” from the FDA’s website.