Tesco to remove ‘best before’ dates to cut down on food waste

Supermarket giant Tesco is to remove ‘best before’ consumption guidance dates from around 70 fruit and vegetable lines to help reduce food waste.

The move is being made to help prevent “perfectly edible” food from being thrown away. It follows research in the causes of food waste by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI), which has been campaigning on the issue. It found less than half of respondents understood the meaning of ‘best before’ dates.

Mark Little, Tesco head of food waste, said: “We know some customers may be confused by the difference between ‘Best Before’ and ‘Use By’ dates on food and this can lead to perfectly edible items being thrown away before they need to be discarded.

“We have made this change to fruit and vegetable packaging as they are among the most wasted foods. Many customers have told us that they assess their fruit and vegetables by the look of the product rather than the ‘Best Before’ date code on the packaging.”

He added: “The Food Standards Agency states that the best before date, sometimes shown as BBE, is about quality and not safety. The food will be safe to eat after this date but may not be at its best.”

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