Research suggests Canadians are among the biggest food-wasters in the world. A recent study found every Canadian lost or wasted almost
400 kilograms of food a year.
And almost half of the waste that occurs happens at home. But why could this be the case?
It turns out that Best Before labels have emerged to be a major villain for this problem, with people not knowing what they really mean and thinking that consuming a product after the date written will cause a potential health problem. In reality, this is not the case, as best before dates refer to food quality, and not safety. "Many products that carry the dates don't even need them" says Denise Philippe, one of the co-authors of this report.
"That chip might be slightly crispier if you eat it before that date and slightly less crispy if you eat it after. You would be amazed how long that yogurt lasts."
The combination of lack of explanation for the need of such labels and their ambiguous date language lead to confusion and the eventual tossing of huge amounts of perfectly good food products that still would still be fine to eat, or use for another product.
The recommendation of standardizing dates and times for products has already been underway in Europe and the US where labels are shifting to saying "use by", "freeze by", or "tastes best by" to address safety and quality on products and free up confusion.
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