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food waste

Social Democrats TD calls for removal of best before dates from foods

Jennifer Whitmore has said getting rid of best before dates would dramatically reduce food waste in Ireland.

GETTING RID OF best before dates would dramatically reduce food waste in Ireland, Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore has said. 

A best before date tells people when the quality of a food will begin to get worse. This means that the good might lose its flavour and texture after that date, but it would be still safe to eat, Safefood says. 

A use-by date, on the otherhand, tells people when a food will become unsafe to eat. People should not eat the food after this date has passed. 

Whitmore, the Social Democrats’ spokesperson on climate and biodiversity, told today’s meeting of the Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action that a million tonnes of food is thrown away in Ireland every year.

She said 45% of it is thrown out because of the presence of best before dates.

“Best before dates are arbitrarily stamped on products by producers, with Safefood Ireland saying there is no heath and safety reason for them,” Whitmore said. 

“Producers are unlikely to agree to a voluntary end to the practice as it will hit their bottom line – the more food wasted, the more money they make. For this reason, I believe that a mandatory approach to this issue is required,” she said. 

“Removing best before dates would be a simple thing to do. We should not need to set up groups or committees to achieve this.”

In 2018, a number of food producers in Noway began using additional labelling on best before labelled products, such as “best before, often good after”. 

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