EU against ‘best before’ labelling to tackle huge food wasting

May 20, 2014 - 8:33:30 am

BRUSSELS: Several EU countries pressed yesterday to change ‘best before’ food labelling, blamed for millions of tonnes of food being thrown away when getting a square meal is a daily struggle for many.

European Union agriculture ministers discussed a document which argued that labels recommending consumption before a specific date were inappropriate for foodstuffs such as rice, pasta or coffee. These products could be kept for longer without any harm being done, it said, with the ‘best before’ date system “causing unnecessary food waste.”

“Reducing food losses and food waste ... is a high priority for many European countries,” the document said, estimating annual losses at 89 million tonnes in Europe.  “This labelling has nothing to do with health, it’s more to do with quality, which I think consumers can judge for themselves,” Dutch Agriculture Minister Sharon Dijksma said.

According to the World Bank, about 35 percent of food ends up being thrown away, most of it junked by consumers in the developed countries. AFP

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