Tesco to remove some fruit and veg '˜best before' dates to cut down on food waste

Tesco is to remove '˜Best Before' consumption guidance dates from nearly 70 fruit and vegetable lines in a move to help reduce food waste.

The supermarket giant say the move is to help prevent perfectly edible food, such as apples, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, plus lemons and other citrus fruit, from being thrown away.

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The move follows a recent campaign by the National Federation of Women's Institutes (NFWI) into causes of food waste which found that less than half of those surveyed understood the meaning of '˜Best Before' dates.

However, more than 70 per cent of people polled by NFWI correctly identified the meaning of '˜Use By' labels.

A '˜Use By' mark is mandatory for all foods where there is a safety risk if they are eaten after the date stamp.

Good enough to eat

However, '˜Best Before' labels are put on foods by retailers as a quality indication to show that although they are no longer at their best they are still good to eat.

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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.'

Tesco Head of Food Waste Mark Little 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."