Reducing Food Waste During COVID-19
New guidance from WRAP UK urges householders to use food past its best before date, and also encourages retailers to ensure own-brand products that have exceeded their shelf life but remain safe to eat, are released into the COVID-19 food supply chain.
WRAP, which works with organisations in the food and drink industry to create "economic and environmental value" from reducing food waste and tackling issues around water scarcity across the supply chain, is urging more businesses, redistribution organisations and charities to ignore best before dates as food can be good to eat way beyond any date included on a label. It argues surplus food should not go to waste when individuals and families across the country are experiencing food poverty.
The new guidelines have been created with assistance from Approved Food, the UK’s largest online retailer of surplus food and drink that is approaching or has just passed its best before date.
Key guidance from WRAP includes:
• Bakery items and bread can last for days past their best before date when stored properly;
• Uncut fruit such as apples and snack like crisps can be eaten weeks after the best before date;
• Biscuits and cereals will last for months after the date on the label; and
• Whilst dried and tinned items such as pasta and canned soup can be perfectly fine for years
Approved Food brand ambassador, Jonathan Straight, says: "This is very much what we wanted to see. But it is a shame that it has taken the Covid-19 crisis for this to let this issue be taken seriously – we have been pushing for this for several years.
"We have always lobbied for best before dates to be seen a guidance only, and I am delighted that WRAP has taken this initiative, and that it has been backed by the food waste tsar Ben Elliot. Hopefully, this will not just be for the short term but that it will change attitudes for good.
"It’s time now for retailers to open up their own brand items for redistribution, whether that be for resale or redistribution via charities. There is a significant amount of own brand food still being wasted; hopefully, these new guidelines will put an end to that."