Best before dates might go in order to save waste

July 21, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Many of us look at the food packaging and simply aren’t sure whether we should eat what’s inside or chuck it in the bin. If in doubt, we throw it out. But the government are now starting to get very worried about the damage this is doing to the environment and to the economy too. The estimated total sum of money spent in the unnecessary wastage of food in the UK is a whopping £10 billion every year.

The Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, has called for action to be taken to make the best-before and display-before labelling on food items much clearer and possibly even scrapped in some cases. At present the retailers label their food with these dates so that they can properly manage their stock intake, as well as give information to the consumer about time limits for eating or drinking the item safely. The Department of Food and Rural Affairs is, however, concerned that it is only benefitting the retailers and not helping the customer or the environment.

The government sound keen to scrap the dates but the retailers insist this wouldn’t be a good idea. They feel they could bring in tougher rules that would make the labels easier to understand and which would ensure that all are laid out in the same way. There has been a lot of improvements in the packaging side of retailing, with the Trading Standards having a set-template for certain items so that they can see where some retailers are not abiding by the rules. DEFRA are working with the retailers in issues such as packaging, as well as restricting what materials go to landfills, so the dates look like they’ll be next on the agenda.

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