NL wants exp. dates on certain foods scrapped
The Netherlands and Sweden want to scrap expiration dates for certain food products.
“It is a good thing that in Europe we have one directive to secure safe food and drinks, but those regulations should not lead to waste,” said State Secretary Sharon Dijksma of Economic Affairs in a press release. She is spearheading an amendment to the European legislation on expiration dates together with her Swedish counterpart.
Dijksma: “People discard a lot of food because they don’t know what the expiration dates on the packages mean exactly. That means they have to spend money on new groceries and on top of that it places a heavy burden on our natural resources.”
Her proposal regards foodstuffs like pasta, rice and coffee, groceries that carry a “best before” stamp while they are not likely to perish quickly. “For extremely preservable products like pasta or rice, having no expiration date is better than an expiration date that doesn’t say a thing,” said Dijksma.
“Best before” means that a certain product does not meet certain quality standards, because for instance its color has changed. But, explained the press release, the safety of the product remains a guarantee, sometimes months after the expiration date has passed, but customers are often not aware of that. It said some 15% of the food that is wasted, is related to the expiration dates posted on packaging.
“Per person in the Netherlands we throw away 47 kilograms of food per year. For a city like Amsterdam that means 38 million kilograms of unused food. The world population will grow with another two billion by 2050, while the natural resources for food production are under pressured. That is why dealing with food waste should be a high priority on European level,” said the release.
The proposal also appeals for research into legislation that hinders scrapping expiration data from packaging. It also urged countries to educate their citizens about the limitations of expiration dates. The European Commission has already hinted that it takes the proposal “very serious.” The proposal will be tabled on May 19.