Calls for better food labelling
Published 17/04/2011 | 21:22
Clearer "best before" date labels could help cut the £680-worth of food thrown away unnecessarily by the average household each year, the Government has said.
New guidance will be issued to supermarkets and other shops in the next month in a bid to end confusion blamed by experts for perfectly-healthy produce being binned.
The main focus will be trying to help shoppers better understand the difference between legally required "best before" dates - after which many products are still OK to eat - and the "use by" dates used on items like prawns or yoghurts which have a definite shelf life.
Action will also be looked for to prevent dates used by shops for stock control - usually marked "sell by" and "display until" - adding to the confusion for consumers.
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."
Research suggests at least 60% of the 8.3 million tonnes of UK household food and drink waste is avoidable - meaning 5.3 million tonnes of perfectly edible food is thrown away per year.
No new legislation is planned as part of the initiative, which has been drawn up following consultation with manufacturers, retailers and consumer groups