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Waitrose removes ‘best before’ dates on 500 products to cut food waste

The removal will come into place from September, although ‘use by’ dates will still be in place across products for safety

Waitrose has announced it will remove the ‘best before’ dates on nearly 500 fresh products to reduce the volume of food waste occurring in UK households.

The removal will come into place from September, and it will include fresh food items such as root vegetables, fruits including grapes, citrus and apples, as well as indoor and outdoor plants.

However, ‘use by’ dates will still be in place across products for safety as eating after this date could result in food poisoning, unless frozen.

The retailer is urging customers to use their own judgement to decide whether a product is good to eat or not, which in turn will increase its chances of being eaten and not becoming waste.

According to Waitrose, 70% of all food wasted is by people in their own homes, and UK households throw away 4.5 millions tonnes of edible food every year.

Marija Rompani, John Lewis Partnership director of Sustainability and Ethics, said: “By using up existing fresh food in our homes, we can also save on our weekly household food shop, which is becoming an increasingly pressing concern for many.

“The objective builds on our existing commitment to help our customers reduce their food waste by 2030. By working with WRAP to bring this initiative to life, we’re delighted to help our customers play their own role in tackling this global issue.”

Catherine David, director of Collaboration and Change at WRAP, added: “Wasting food feeds climate change and it costs people money. Best before dates on fruit and veg are unnecessary and create food waste because they get in the way of people using their judgement when food is still good to eat.

“We are absolutely delighted by this move from Waitrose which will help stop good food ending up in the bin. We estimate that removing dates on fresh fruit and veg could save the equivalent of 7 million shopping baskets of food from the bin, which is huge.”

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