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"Best before" dates add to food waste, EU paper says

Published on May 16, 2014 4:17 PM

ATHENS (REUTERS) - "Best before" dates on food add to a mountain of waste in Europe and could be scrapped for some long-life produce, a group of European Union states have argued in a discussion paper prepared for an agriculture ministers meeting on Monday.

Food waste in the West has become a hot topic because of its environmental and humanitarian implications. A report last year found up to half of the food produced worldwide was wasted because of poor harvesting, storage and transport methods, as well as irresponsible retailer and consumer behaviour.

The discussion paper, seen by Reuters and put forward by the Netherlands and Sweden, says date-labelling in many EU countries is adding to the problem and calls on the European Commission to consider whether products with a very long shelf life could be exempt from best before labels.

It also wants EU policymakers to explore how to make consumers better understand durability dates.

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