Thousands of tonnes of food that might otherwise have gone to waste could now become available for feeding the homeless, vulnerable and needy in society following an agreement between the British Sandwich & Food to Go Association (BSA) and Government agencies.
Until now, the law was interpreted to mean that at midnight on the stated date all sandwiches and other food carrying a ‘Use-by’ date had to be destroyed. As part of a programme looking at ways the industry could reduce waste, the BSA argued that provided retailers were satisfied about the safety of products, they should be allowed to relabel them and give them to charity. To do this they would need to be confident of their safety by undertaking appropriate microbial shelf-life testing.
Research across just five leading retailers shows that this change in how the law is interpreted will potentially save some 2000 tonnes of products going to waste each year.
BSA Director Jim Winship said: “We’ve analysed wastage across just five major retailers produced a potential reduction of 1,924 tonnes*. However, retailers and the charities they support will now need to establish the practical means to deliver surplus foods to those who need them.”
Whilst the agreement specifically relates to sandwiches and food-to-go products, the implications of the agreement could be much wider across the food industry.