I am a strong believer and advocate for reducing food waste. Some figures show that something like 50% of all food produced is threwn away before we eat it.
With the huge amount of resources that we has humans put into getting food, this waste should be considered to be nothing less than obscene.
These resources include; water, people’s time, electricity for storage facilities and other equipment, and the fuel used for vehicles and other equipment. It is both an environmental waste as well as financial. If aliens from outer space looked down on this, they would surely be wondering how a species could do such a thing.
There are some that say that one of the reasons for this enormous waste is the use by and best before dates on foods. With people throwing food out which has gone past these dates, there is a large amount of food going to waste.
So it begs the question of whether it is safe to eat food after these dates and therefore can we save some of this waste by not throwing these foods out.
There is an article on Your One Stop Food Safety Shop that talks about whether it is safe to eat food after it’s used by date has past.
So lets talk about best before date here. The answer is simple. After this date the quality of the food will become reduced the further you go past it, but at all times the food will be safe. So if people are throwing out food that it past it’s best before they are not doing it because it will not be safe. These foods can most certainly be used but their quality will be less.
Foods past their use by date, must be thrown out as they are most likely not safe but best before is a different matter. These foods can be used in another dish to ensure they are not thrown away.
It is not the dates on foods that are making the biggest contribution to this massive food waste. It is our unreal expectations of what our food should look like. The waste starts at the very farm when the farmers are required to chuck out perfectly Ok fruit and vegetables that do not look exactly like the specification. They may have marks or slight imperfections or be misshapen or a little too small or large. The point is that they still taste just fine.
If we can all just go into our supermarkets and say that we are happy to have fruit with marks (especially if the skin is not eaten anyway) or odd shapes and then actually buy that material.
It would be amazing just how much of a difference this would make.