EU proposes dual-date labelling to cut waste

The European Commission (EC) is calling for changes in packaging in an effort to reduce food waste. Labels could soon display two dates to avoid customers throwing away food that is still safe.

Dual-date labelling would consist of a “sell by” and a “use by” date to help consumers know how long they can keep food after they have bought it, but the EC is worried that the multiplicity of labels could create confusion. Member states should therefore ensure customers understand the difference between currently used labels within the EU, such as the quality-related “best before” and safety-related “use by” dates, before the dual-date label is implemented.  

The initiative put forward by the EC also involves giving leftovers to people in need, and introducing food education classes in schools to teach students how to store and dispose of food. It will be voted on at the next Strasbourg session in December.