Could this be the end of the use-by date?

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  • In an attempt to reduce the £10 billion of food needlessly dumped each year, food manufactureres consider removing use-by dates.

    It’s a scene that’s familiar to all of us: You discover a yogurt lurking at the back of the fridge that’s two days out of date. The question is, do you risk eating it or cautiously throw it away?

    If recent statistics are anything to go by, you opt for the latter.

    With every household disposing of £400 of food each year, experts have begun to question whether we are needlessly dumping meals, drinks, fruit and vegetable that are still safe to eat.

    As a result, food manufacturers are considering removing use-by dates on some products in an attempt to cut back on the £10 billion of food binned each year.

    Warburton bread is one of the first products to dispose of the use-by date, and some brands of yogurts and cheese are likely to follow suit.

    Even the milk industry is in talks with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) over whether it can change consumer information, at the same time as upholding health and safety standards.

    Barbara Gallani, director of food and science safety at the Food and Drink Federation, said: ‘There is a big drive to replace use-by with best-before where it is safe to do so.’

    It is commonly believed that use-by dates suggest a product is unsafe to consume past that point, when in fact many can still be safely eaten after the printed date.

    In 2008, Wrap, which works to increase recycling and reduce food waste, interviewed 2,715 households and reported that Britons throw away 1.6 millions bananas, 1.3 million pots of yogurt, 660,000 eggs and 440,000 ready meals every year.

    The FSA is currently reviewing its advice on the use of sell-by, use-by and best-before dates.


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