A leading food retailer which specialises in clearance food and drink has called for a change in the way people are educated about ‘best before’ dates.
Sheffield-based Approved Food brand ambassador and anti-waste campaigner Jonathan Straight explained that many food labels are misinterpreted and food is thrown away unnecessarily.
“Best before dates should be used as a rough guide rather than a strict rule,” said Straight.
“We need to better understand our confusing labelling system as well as using our common sense. ‘Use by’ dates are one thing but otherwise we should be able to rely on our senses to tell us whether food is okay to eat.
“People mistakenly think food is out of date and throw it away, yet if it has been stored properly it can last a considerable time, often several years after the date stamped on it.
“Manufacturers tend to err on the side of caution but tinned goods and foiled packed items are perfectly safe to use.”
This view is backed by Dr Aneesha Ahmad, A Huddersfield-based GP who said that eating food which had exceeded its best before date was safe.
“It astounds me how much food and drink we waste every year, the majority of which could have been eaten,” she said.
“It’s simply not ethically or environmentally acceptable to throw food away so frivolously. One of the biggest misconceptions around the food industry is that you can’t eat food after the best before date has passed, but actually that’s just a recommendation and you absolutely can.”
The online company sells food which close to or past its best before date, but not past its ‘use by’ date.
The 43-strong company offers around 6,000 products on its online store, and estimates it has prevented around four million tonnes of goods from going to waste in the past 10 years.