Frozen food ignorance 'is leading to waste'
Common misconceptions about frozen food are contributing to the seven million tonnes of waste thrown out by UK households every year, a survey suggests.
A poll for the Food Standards Agency (FSA) revealed widespread confusion around the safety of frozen food as households waste the equivalent of six meals a week.
Some 43% of people think food should only be frozen on the day of purchase, rather than up until the use-by date, 38% incorrectly said it is dangerous to refreeze meat after it has been cooked and more than a third (36%) wrongly believe that food can become unsafe to eat while in the freezer.
Almost a quarter (23%) said they would never freeze meat that was cooked after defrosting, with 73% of them saying this was due to worries about food poisoning.
More than two thirds of those surveyed (68%) had thrown food away in the past month, mainly bread (36%), fruit (31%), vegetables (31%) and leftover meals (22%).
The FSA, Defra and Wrap (Waste and Resources Action Programme) is reviewing the guidance provided to the food industry on date marking of food, including whether this should be expanded to cover food storage and freezing advice for consumers.
FSA policy director Steve Wearne said: “The freezer is like a pause button, so you can freeze foods right up to the ‘use by’ date.
“While food is kept safe in the freezer, it’s the quality that deteriorates over time, so we recommend eating it within three to six months and checking for any freezing instructions on the packaging.
“Once defrosted, the pause button is off, so defrost food as and when you need it and eat it within 24 hours of it being fully defrosted.”