Food safety watchdog supports removing best-before dates from some product lines

Only 27% of Irish people get their five-a-day of fruit and vegetables, according to the Department of Health's Healthy Ireland Survey 2016

‘Best-before dates’ should not be confused with ‘use-by dates’, which are used on perishable foods, says Dr Mairead McCann of Safefood

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2 August 2022 | 0

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Ireland’s food safety watchdog Safefood has expressed its support for retailers who have removed some best-before dates on food products in an effort to cut back on food waste.

In recent weeks, Marks & Spencer and SuperValu have been among the supermarkets that have removed some best-before dates on fruit and vegetable products.

“The issue of ‘best-before dates’ is not about food safety,” said Dr Mairead McCann of Safefood, quoted by The Irish Times. Instead, such dates are “only a guideline indicating when to use the product to ensure that its quality is of the highest standard”.

Dr McCann added that for uncut and unprocessed fruit and vegetables, as long as the food hasn’t started to rot “a consumer can use their own discretion in determining whether the food is of good enough quality to eat”.

Safefood supported retailer “efforts to reduce food waste and are in favour of giving consumers appropriate information that helps them make informed choices about the food they purchase,” she continued.

Dr McCann continued that ‘best-before dates’ should not be confused with ‘use-by dates’, which are used on perishable foods. “These foods need to be stored safely by following the instructions on their labels and must be eaten within the ‘use-by date’. The ‘use-by date’ is about the safety of the food and is a deadline,” she said.

 

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