The store is one of the ‘big six’ supermarkets in the UK alongside Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Lidl.
Morrisons is to scrap “use by” dates on most of its milk in a bid to reduce food waste an a move said to be a first by recycling charity Wrap.
From the end of January, the retailer will instead place “best before” dates on 90% of its own-brand milk and will encourage customers to use a sniff test to check quality.
It believes the move will stop millions of pints of its own-brand milk from being thrown away every year. Recycling charity Wrap says Morrisons is the first supermarket to announce the move.
Morrisons explains controversial move in UK stores
Ian Goode, senior milk buyer at Morrisons, said: “Wasted milk means wasted effort by our farmers and unnecessary carbon being released into the atmosphere.
“Good quality well-kept milk has a good few days life after normal ‘use by’ dates – and we think it should be consumed, not tipped down the sink.
“So, we’re taking a bold step today and asking customers to decide whether their milk is still good to drink.
“Generations before us have always used the sniff test – and I believe we can too.”
A sour aroma or curdled consistency is a sign the milk has been spoiled.
A spokeswoman for the Food Standards Agency said the “best before” label is fine with milk, as opposed to some other foods, and the sniff test should be based on common sense.
Brits react to controversial change at Morrisons
The controversial move has been condemned by customers who were not impressed by the initiative.
“Note to self. Don’t buy milk from Morrisons,” said one customer on social media.
Another agreed: “I won’t be buying anything from there. Morrisons Amazon Asda Sainsburys Tesco All off my list.
“I’m not accepting lowered food and drink (health) standards and regulation until I literally can’t get anything anywhere. Until then, they can all do one.”
Others were less annoyed by the change.
One customer tweeted: “I’m just laughing at those who think Morrisons will be deliberately putting sour milk on the shelves and expecting people to sniff it before buying lol.”
Another added: “Just heard someone on Radio 2 claim that life is going to get even harder when Morrisons take the use by date off milk and replace it with a best before date. Honest to God how did our ancestors live? Bloody pathetic. Switched the radio off.”
Milk is the third most wasted food and drink product in the UK, after potatoes and bread, with around 490 million pints wasted every year, according to Wrap.
It also estimates 85 million pints of milk waste may be due to customers following “use by” labels despite research showing it can be used days after the date.
Marcus Gover, of Wrap, said: “I am delighted that Morrisons is the first UK supermarket to take this important step to help reduce household food waste – it shows real leadership and we look forward to more retailers reviewing date labels on their products and taking action.”