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Resource Efficiency

EU group calls for scrapping of ‘best before’ labels


A group of Member States, led by the Netherlands and Sweden, is urging the European Commission to scrap ‘best before’ labels on a range of long life products in an attempt to reduce food waste. The proposal is designed to reduce the estimated 90 million tonnes of edible food thrown away throughout Europe each year. Read more...

It is estimated that approximately 15% of food waste is caused by best before dates on packaging. The proposal, which is backed by the governments of Austria, Denmark, Germany, Luxemburg, Sweden and the Netherlands, would result in manufacturers no longer having to put a ‘best before’ date on foods that are kept in storage for long periods of time, such as rice and pasta.

Dutch minister for Agriculture, Sharon Dijksma, who initiated the proposal, along with her Swedish counterpart, Eskil Erlandsson emphasised the importance of taking steps to combat food waste. “Addressing food shortages will increasingly become a huge challenge due to the growing world population. It is therefore important to take action now.”

Current EU legislation mandates all food to carry a ‘best before’ date, irrespective of whether the products have a long shelf-life or not. The Commission has set up a working group to discuss food waste at EU level and is set to release proposals in June.

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