Misinterpretation of expiry date labels resulting in food waste
Share article:
Share article:

Misinterpretation of expiry date labels resulting in food waste

Misinterpretation of food labels is resulting in increased food waste. Credit: The Brussels Times

The majority of people in Belgium don’t fully understand expiry date labels on food products, which results in food unnecessarily being thrown out.

Around 75% of people did not know the difference between “best-before” and “use-by” dates when asked in a survey conducted by the company behind an anti-food waste mobile application, Too Good To Go, which results in one in three people throwing out food that is still edible.

“We notice that more and more consumers are aware of the impact of food waste, but they often do not know whether a food product is still safe to consume after its expiry date,” said Hélène Bonte of the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chains (FAVV).

Together with FAVV, and 14 food producers and supermarkets, Too Good To Go is launching a pictogram that aims to clarify best-before dates by making a clear distinction between the two types of expiry dates.

“For products with a ‘use-by’ date, such as meat and fish, the date must absolutely be respected,” Bonte explained. “But products with a ‘best-before’ date, such as chocolate or dry pasta, are still edible after the date has passed.”

Look, smell, taste

As part of the initiative, both FAVV and Too Good To Go are advising people to “look, smell and taste” food that is past its ‘best-before’ date before it is thrown away by adding a pictogram that will appear on products in Belgian shops, including those produced by Hellmann’s, Joyvalle and La Vache Qui Rit.

The advice as part of the campaign states that, if the taste, smell and texture are as usual, then the product is safe to consume. However, food and drink that has passed the “use-by” date should be thrown away, even if it still looks and tastes good.

The anti-food waste company launched its initiative on the United Nation’s International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, during which the UN put out an urgent appeal for action to reduce the amount of food that is wasted globally.

Too Good To Go’s campaign is also one of the projects supported by the Flemish Government as part of its action plan, announced on Wednesday, with which it wants to prevent 30% of food losses, re-process them as food or find other ways to make use of them.

Latest news

More women take police selection tests in Belgium
The selection tests to become a police inspector have more and more female participants, according to figures released by Interior Affairs Minister ...
‘Absurd’: all Brussels schools should have the same Covid rules
Several city councillors for education in Brussels are calling to abolish the "absurd" differences in coronavirus measures for Dutch-speaking and ...
Massive renovations for iconic venue in the heart of Brussels
Brussels concert hall Ancienne Belgique has announced plans to renovate the AB Café and the AB Salon and is looking for a contractor fit for the job. ...
Display of child’s room in Brussels raises awareness of foster families
An exhibit that features a fictitious child’s bedroom has been on display since Tuesday at the Place d'Armes in Namur, with the support of the ...
Test results show pupils have fallen behind in Flemish schools
Learning delays have been reported in almost all subject areas in Flanders since the start of the pandemic, a trend that continued in 2021, a ...
Belgium considers relaxing testing rules for UK travellers
At the next Consultative Committee meeting, Belgium will look into relaxing the testing and entry policy for travellers coming from the United ...
Jette libraries start giving plants away with books
Visitors to libraries in the Brussels municipality of Jette will soon be able to pick up a free plant along with a book, thanks to the new Plantotek ...
‘Do what you want, but do it as safely as possible,’ experts warn
As the daily number of new coronavirus infections exceeds 3,000 for the first time since May, infectious disease expert Erika Vlieghe and ...
‘We’re running dry’: Brussels teacher shortage reaches critical levels
The teacher shortage in Brussels is affecting schools across language borders, according to Brussels’ Minister for Multilingualism and Dutch ...
New coronavirus infections above 3,000 for first time since May
The number of people testing positive for coronavirus has skyrocketed to the highest rate since the start of May 2021. Between 9 and 15 October, ...
Belgium in Brief: Getting To The Airport
When I saw the news of plans for a tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels' outskirts to the airport, my first reaction was sheer joy.  Let ...
EU should invest €5 trillion in climate plan, says State Secretary for Economic Recovery
The European Union must invest €5 trillion in its climate plan over the next decade to "retain its credibility as a political project," according ...