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Are 'Best Before' Dates Past Their Prime? The Fight Against Food Waste

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BNN Correspondents
New Update
Are 'Best Before' Dates Past Their Prime? The Fight Against Food Waste

A rising chorus of advocates are pushing for the elimination of best before and use-by dates on fresh fruits and vegetables as a means to combat escalating food waste. The call to action comes amid rising concerns over the environmental and economic implications of food wastage—issues that are resonating globally.

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Challenging the Status Quo

The proposal to remove date labels from fresh produce represents a challenge to the widespread practice of relying on printed dates. The objective is to encourage consumers to rely on their judgment and senses to determine the freshness of fruits and vegetables, rather than discarding produce based on the date indicated. The initiative, if adopted, could significantly reduce unnecessary disposal of produce that is still fit for consumption.

Broader Efforts to Curtail Food Waste

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This proposal forms part of broader efforts to address the issue of food waste, which has significant environmental and economic impacts. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, for instance, is offering tips to families on how to reduce waste and recycle effectively during the holidays. Among the suggestions are understanding date labels, shopping with a plan, and proper food storage—measures that could save households an estimated $1,866 a year, according to a 2020 study by Penn State.

From Waste to Resource

Another innovative solution being explored is the transformation of household food waste into valuable resources. In Auckland, collected food scraps are recycled into fertiliser, heat for growing tomatoes in hothouses, and even gas for the national grid. This method of turning waste into a resource not only offers environmental benefits by diverting food waste from landfills but also presents an innovative approach to recycling food scraps.

The debate over date labels on fresh produce and the wider conversation about sustainable food consumption and waste reduction strategies are emblematic of the urgent need to address food waste. By challenging established practices and seeking innovative solutions, it is possible to curtail food waste and its far-reaching impacts.

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