A “best before” date on a container of hummus sold in North American stores. Manufacturers use such dates to indicate until when the contents are at peak freshness, but many customers interpret “best before” to mean “use by” and throw items away, which contributes to the global problem of food waste. Photo: AP /Michael Dwyer
A “best before” date on a container of hummus sold in North American stores. Manufacturers use such dates to indicate until when the contents are at peak freshness, but many customers interpret “best before” to mean “use by” and throw items away, which contributes to the global problem of food waste. Photo: AP /Michael Dwyer

To reduce food waste, ‘best before’ labels are being dropped in Europe; less so in the US – where the problem is greatest

  • 17 per cent of global food production is wasted each year, and in the US that figure reaches 35 per cent. Confusion over whether food is safe to eat is a factor
  • UK supermarkets are removing ‘best before’ labels from pre-packaged fruit and vegetables and the EU is considering outlawing them

A “best before” date on a container of hummus sold in North American stores. Manufacturers use such dates to indicate until when the contents are at peak freshness, but many customers interpret “best before” to mean “use by” and throw items away, which contributes to the global problem of food waste. Photo: AP /Michael Dwyer
A “best before” date on a container of hummus sold in North American stores. Manufacturers use such dates to indicate until when the contents are at peak freshness, but many customers interpret “best before” to mean “use by” and throw items away, which contributes to the global problem of food waste. Photo: AP /Michael Dwyer
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