She added: ‘I found there's nothing wrong with the products they are full of sugar and I feel the sugar helps preserve them haha and I do struggle for $ at the moment so it worked out the cheapest.’
But while the mum copped criticism in the school playground, she received overwhelming support from fellow shoppers in the Facebook group.
Said one: ‘Not gonna lie. I don't pay attention to use by or best before dates. I buy my meat on its use by and freeze it instantly. I put cakes in the fridge for over a week. Let her pay full price for things so you still get the good deals.’
Added another: ‘I volunteer for a charity that feeds the homeless and we use the best before food up to 12 months later. It’s the Use By that you need to watch on dairy and cold products. Absolutely nothing wrong with what you're doing.
Everyone is on a budget these days and every dollar counts.’
Said a third: ‘Mums are the harshest critics of other mums which is such a contradiction of how we should be which is lifting each other up. It says more about her than it does about you. Even with use by, it's common sense, we have consumed plenty that is past use by, your senses tell you when it needs to be binned. There were no such date stamps years ago, nor was there nutrition breakdown charts on every damn thing. Tell she's past her use by and her best by dates.........as a decent human!’
While some other mums agreed that they wouldn’t feed their kids foods past their best before dates, they still showed the mum support.
One said: ‘Personally I would not feed my children anything that's past the best before dates either, but that doesn’t mean I'm judging you for doing it. Each to their own. As long as your kids are fed that is what matters!’
In terms of food safety standards, it’s agreed that consumers can be flexible with best before dates - but not with use-by dates.
Says the CSIRO: ‘The term "Use by" is specifically for foods that will have a food- safety risk after a specified storage period.’
Adds the Victorian State Government’s Better Health: ‘Manufacturers usually choose a best-before date well before the time when the food would be expected to deteriorate and spoil. A conservative best-before date is designed to encourage you to eat the product while it is fresh and at its best, so you should consider best-before dates as a guide only. Frozen and canned products, in particular, tend to keep their quality for some time after the best-before date.
‘Within reason, provided the food looks and smells as you would expect, it should be safe to eat, even if the best-before date has passed. Keep an eye on the ‘use-by’ or ‘best before’ dates on the food in your cupboards. Don’t eat any food that is past its ‘use-by’ date, even if it looks and smells okay.’