The Independent reports that the U.K. Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says British consumers each year throw out 370,000 tonnes of food that has passed its "best before" date, and a further 220,000 tonnes that is close to, but still within, its "use by" date.
Yet last week, Approved Foods, announced that its sales for the final week of December were up a staggering 500 per cent year on year. At sites such as Approved Foods and Bargainfoods.co.uk, you can pick up four tins of pinto beans for £1, or a can of tuna for 59p. Or how about four Toblerones for 99p? There’s nothing wrong with the foods. They’re just coming up to their "use-by" dates or have gone beyond their "best before" dates.
Last year, Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, called on food manufacturers to consign to the dustbin date labels such as "sell by" and "display until", retaining only the crucial "use by" date.
A recent FSA study revealed a rise in the potentially deadly disease listeriosis due to people consuming chilled ready-to-eat foods — products such as pre-packed sandwiches, salads, cooked sliced meats, smoked salmon, soft cheeses and pates — that have been in their fridges too long. The findings highlight the potential risks involved in both our ignorance and our habits of going on gut instinct.