Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

..... ..... ..... ..... ..... .....

Food Law News - EU - 2014

Council Minutes, 19 May 2014

LABELLING - Food loss and food waste – Discussion by council of rules regarding ‘best before’ dates

The following is an extract from the minutes of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting:

On the initiative of the Netherlands and Swedish delegations the Council discussed food loss and food waste in the European Union and ways to reduce its scope. Ministers considered action to reduce food loss and food waste useful, as long as food safety is not undermined. One of the suggestions made by the Netherlands and Swedish delegations is to exempt more products, which have a long shelf live and retain their quality for a very long time, from the requirement to provide a "best before" date on the label (9755/14).

The "best before" date is a date of consumption recommended by the manufacturer and represents the last date by which, according to the manufacturer, a product's flavour and quality is best, or the optimal time of its shelf live. Such food is still safe to consume after the indicated "best before" day as long as storage instructions are respected and packaging is not damaged. Some foodstuffs are currently exempted from the obligation to indicate a "best before" date, such as wines, cooking salt, solid sugar and certain confectionary products.

The "best before" date should not be confused with the "use by date" which is used for foods that are highly perishable (e.g. fresh meat, diary products).

The Commission announced the publication of a paper on food sustainability, setting out a strategic approach to prevent food waste, in the second half of May.

A copy of the information paper (9755/14) is available on this site. See: Food loss and food waste - Information from the Netherlands and Swedish delegations, supported by the Austrian, Danish, German and Luxembourg delegations

To go to main Foodlaw-Reading Index page, click here.