Food waste: John Allan discusses sell-by-dates
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With the cost of living crisis a very worrying issue for people across Britons, shoppers are keen to cut down on costs.
Supermarkets such as Asda have proposed a new initiative that will not only save shoppers money but reduce food waste too.
From Thursday September 1, Asda is scrapping the best before dates from 250 fruit and vegetable items.
This will include but is not limited to citrus fruits, potatoes, cauliflowers and carrots.
The move means that Asda customers will not be needlessly chucking away perfectly food and replacing it.
It also gives customers autonomy over whether something is okay to eat.
It is important to distinguish between best before dates and use by dates.
According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) these two dates must be “treated differently”.
The agency stated: “Food may contain bacteria and if stored for too long or at the wrong temperature, can cause food poisoning.
“So it’s important to understand the different types of dates and advice on food packaging.”
The body explained that while a use by date relates to “food safety”, a best date relates to “food quality”.
This means that while customers should take a use by date very seriously and adhere to the instructions on the packaging, they can make their own decisions when it comes to the best before date.
For foods with a best before date, shoppers can use the “sniff test” to see if a food product is appropriate to eat.
This may also mean looking for visible mould or tasting something to gauge whether it has gone off. The “sniff test” is not appropriate for items with a use by date.
Head of technical at Asda Andy Cockshaw made a statement in regards to the initiative, saying that reducing food waste is a priority.
“We know for customers this has become more important than ever in the current climate as many families are struggling with the cost of living crisis and are looking to make savings wherever they can,” he added.
Catherine David, director of collaboration and change at WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) added that research has shown that date labels on fruit and veg are “unnecessary”.
She claimed that scrapping best before dates could prevent waste equivalent to seven million shopping baskets’ worth from our household bins.
She urged other supermarkets to follow suit and allow shoppers to use their “own judgement” on what feels right for them, reported Birmingham Live.
Sainsbury’s has also made similar changes, previously removing best before dates from over 1,500 lines and now adding a further 276.
Other supermarkets such as Morrisons, Co-op, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose have all made efforts to do the same, with Tesco starting as early as 2018 to remove confusing best before dates from several fruit and veg lines.
Express.co.uk has reached out to Asda for comment.
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