Sell-by date changes could save families over £680 a year

Misleading sell-by and best-before dates to be changed to prevent wastage of 5 million tons of food and drink every year

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Food and drink manufacturers are being advised to drop misleading sell-by, use-by and best-before dates from packaging to prevent over-cautious customers throwing out perfectly good food.

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The government today released new guidelines to curb the sheer amount of produce, worth around £12 billion, that’s wasted every year. Manufacturers have reached an agreement to begin implementing a simpler labelling system.

Out of the 8.3 million tons of food and drink thrown away each year, 60% is avoidable, according to the waste reduction body Wrap. The average amount a typical family loses by throwing away food that is perfectly edible to eat is £680 a year.

“We want to end the food labelling confusion and make it clear once and for all when food is good and safe to eat,” Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman will say today, according to the Daily Mail

All food and drink will be required to have just one label with a single date, stating that the date either suggests best-before or use-by. The aim is to indicate, especially on tinned and dry goods, that the product is not at its best but is still safe to eat.

“This simpler and safer date labelling guide will help households cut down on the £12billion worth of good food that ends up in the bin,” Caroline will add.

The campaign to cut down on food waste has been around for years, after the food labelling system was introduced in 1980.

We’ve also heard that scientists are now working on creating ‘intelligent’ food wrapping, which will change colour when the contents go bad – sounds ingenious!

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