Sustainability experts have urged Irish supermarkets to follow the example of UK shops and remove best-before dates from products.
UK supermarket Waitrose has decided to remove the best before date from nearly 500 of its fresh grocery products. And earlier this month, Marks and Spencer removed the sell-by dates of more than 300 fruit and vegetable products after a successful attempt.
From September, Waitrose will remove the dates on its packaged fruit and veg to encourage customers to make their own judgment about when food is spoiled.
There is often confusion about the use by and best before dates of foods – contributing to huge amounts of food waste
The distinction between “use by” and “best before” dates is that the former indicates the point in time up to which a food can be safely consumed, while the latter represents the food quality.
Zero-waste chef Conor Spacey said it was only a matter of time before Irish supermarkets would remove the best before date on certain foods.
“It’s definitely a step in the right direction that UK supermarkets are scrapping best-before dates for non-high-risk food,” he said Irish Independent.
“There is often confusion about the use by and best before dates of food, which contributes to huge amounts of food waste.
“Consumption dates serve to protect us from the risk of poisoning from high-risk foods such as meat, poultry and fish, while the best-by date is a guide to when a food is best but can be consumed past that date.”
The food waste expert adds that, in most cases, fruit and vegetables are perfectly fine after the best-before date stated on the packaging.
“These changes being implemented by supermarkets are in response to consumer groups and lobby groups to change the way we shop and reduce waste,” he said.
When we throw away food, we also waste all the resources that went into making it
“Seeing these changes take place in the UK means it is only a matter of time before this is implemented by all supermarket chains here in Ireland and overall is a step in the right direction to reduce waste when shopping and for supermarkets to start changing how they sell groceries to consumers.”
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average household in Ireland throws away €700 worth of food a year.
Sustainability influencer Fionnuala Moran said removing the sell-by date will reduce food waste and save shoppers money as food prices continue to rise.
“When we throw away food, we also waste all the resources that went into producing it, as well as the emissions caused by the growing, refrigerating and transporting process,” she said.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/supermarkets-should-scrap-best-before-dates-to-cut-waste-say-experts-41883247.html Supermarkets should remove best-before dates to avoid waste, experts say