Clearer food labelling plan 'to bring an end to waste'

 

We asked people what they thought of "best before dates"

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"Best before" date labels could be scrapped in an attempt to cut the £680 worth of food thrown away by the average UK household each year.

New government guidance to shops aims to put more focus on "use by" dates on items such as prawns and yoghurt which have a definite shelf life.

The initiative follows consultation with manufacturers and retailers.

It will also target "sell by" and "display until" labels which it is thought add to consumers' confusion.

These labels are generally used by shops for stock control.

The changes will be brought in over the next month and will not involve new legislation.

According to the advisory body Waste and Resources Action Programme, households can end up binning up to a quarter of their weekly food and drink purchases.

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: "By law, pre-packed food must show a 'best before' date - even though many foods are still safe to eat after that date.

"This is very different from the 'use by' date that shows when food is no longer safe and should be thrown away. Being clear on the difference between the two could help us all to reduce our food waste."

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: "I am dismayed so much food goes to waste and if the date labels are part of the problem, it's one thing we should be able to improve."

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 217.

    Best before dates mean nothing & are used by manufacturers to ensure constant re-stocking takes place. Another annoying tactic is to increase the price & offer BOGOF. This usually means one gets thrown away due to being out of date before use. Supermarkets should bring the price down if they want to sell more this would help pensioners & single persons.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 216.

    Why isnt the team allowing me to rate some comments. Wanted to agree with comment 214 {David} about HYS as do not like this format but the team are blocking it, why? Also would like comments to have a time by them not just for example "2hours ago"

  • rate this
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    Comment number 215.

    Its about time. We have always gone by smell and look and very very rarely throw anything away as we plan our menu for meals. We also cook enough so we can freeze some to save cooking on other nights. To me the sell/use by dates are used by the food industry to make people buy more food. What really makes food go off quicker is the packaging ie why do cucumbers and swedes need cellophane sleeves

  • rate this
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    Comment number 214.

    This topic is very dull.
    Why does Auntie need two editors to make picks? 212 comments over 13 hours is around 1 comment every 15 minutes - not a great reading challenge. Or does she mean editor's picks?
    Bring back Have Your Say.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 213.

    Oh dear - so many sad people without any sense of brain or smell. If it smells ok it's very probably fine. If it doesn't then chuck it. Supermarkets make a fortune out of flogging stuff 'near-to-sell by-date' and we fall for it. Don't use supermarkets; use your local grocer/greengrocer and you will get quality food without the airmiles. Simple - use your nose and your brain!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 212.

    the problem with best before dates is when supermarkets sell two for the price of one the mothers of today seem to have the idea that as soon as the best before date is past then the second item is no good if it's been not opened because they do not teach today's mothers to be before they leave school how to tell if a food item is fresh any more they just concentrate on how to cook the dam stuff

  • rate this
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    Comment number 211.

    We do need some idea about how long things will last otherwise Supermarkets will be selling us food which has gone off perfectly legally and as some of them already sell which anyone can see is decidedly off but is still in date I shudder to think what we would do about shellfish and other such products. Leave things alone but ask people to use their sense of smell, taste & sight to decide.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 210.

    This is a silly idea.

    The quality of products is very significantly different between “best before” and “best after”.

    What we need to do is to request shops give discounts from the date of “best before” and then display the products until expiry.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 209.

    Great. Maybe my wife won't keep throwing away my collection of chilli sauces when they pass their best before date! Also, will this be the end of "refrigerate after opening" for conserves?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 208.

    My mum was married during the war. Over a period of about 2 years she and her family gathered the ingredients for her wedding breakfast - cake too - mostly in tins. Now, suddenly everything has a shelf life.
    I think its more to do with profiteering than food safety.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 207.

    who is throwing the food the rich and restaurant's.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 206.

    there is very little difference in a best before date and a use by date. People are still going to end up with stuff in their fridges that has past its use by date and throw it away. This won't make any difference whatsoever, most people already know how to buy food, its hardly rocket science.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 205.

    None I am a pensioner on the state pension so I can not afford to throw anything away as I believe this applies to many now and we go and buy out of date food when will the food stamps kick in like in the USA after all we follow them letter by letter, Great Britian my foot.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 204.

    Totally agree with scrapping BB dates and using use by dates and, for items that can be frozen max use dates. The only time I through good food out is in those circumstances or freezer has gone wrong - even then will cook make up meals to save what I can. 16 curries/casseroles/chinese style meals when last disaster occurred!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 203.

    The root cause IS over-buying. I have been guilty of this on occasion and always try not to do it, but ...
    Manufactured on or picked dates would be more useful than BBE. Perhaps then people would re-learn the art of checking food life for themselves. For short life foods, such as dairy, Use By dating is essential, e.g. Deli Counter cheese has a much shorter life than pre-packed.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 202.

    No.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 201.

    what about all of the perfectly good food supermarkets throw in their bins , to look in there is shocking. If it smells and looks fine, it is fine. Common sense no?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 200.

    Most people would not believe the amount of good food which is thrown away every year. It is much bigger than consumer behaviours, I can assure you. It is simply an hidden world of waste and it won't get any better until the government ban food waste from going into landfill and supermarkets and manufacturers are forced to stop stock-piling.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 199.

    I agree, half price goods can be much more useful than 2 for 1 or 3 for 2

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 198.

    I seem to be in the minority when I say I use Best before dates. I don't like sour milk.
    On a side note, don't drink directly from the bottle otherwise I can't take any more!

 

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