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Defra proposes further food labelling guidance

Defra is considering new guidance to improve the clarity of food labelling, in order to reduce the 5.3 million tonnes of food wasted by the public each year.

According to Defra, it would work with the industry on any proposed guidance to make food-date labelling easier for the public to understand, and this would not take the form of legislation.

Pre-packaged food must, by law, show an advisory ‘best before’ date, which is different from a ‘use by’ date which is designed to illustrate the point at which food is no longer safe for consumption.  The proposed guidance would seek to clarify the difference between the two, in order to reduce waste.

According to a recent WRAP report, 60% of the UK’s 8.3 million tonnes of household food and drink waste is avoidable.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: “I am dismayed so much food goes to waste and if the date labels are part of the problem it’s one thing we should be able to improve.”

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