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Tesco dropping ‘confusing’ best before dates on fruit and veg

Tesco is continuing its drive to reduce food waste by removing ‘Best Before’ dates off nearly 70 fruit and vegetable lines.

The group said the move was being made to help prevent edible food from being thrown away.  Items that will lose the label include apples, potatoes, tomatoes, lemons, other citrus fruit and onions.

Tesco cited a recent study by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) into causes of food waste which found that less than half of respondents understood the meaning of ‘Best Before’ dates.  However, more than 70% of people polled correctly identified the meaning of ‘Use By’ labels which have to be put on all foods where there is a safety risk if they are eaten after that date.

‘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.

Tesco’s 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.”

Last week, the Co-op announced that it will end last-minute sales of fresh products in its stores in a bid to reduce food waste and better support community groups.

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