“Often good after”: new EU wording coming
European Commission has submitted a proposal to review rules on food expiration dates on 8 March 2023.
The proposal is to add the words “Often good after” to the already existing “best before”.
The amendment represents part of Farm to Fork strategy, first announced from Brussels in 2020.
It is one of the pivotal points of European Green Deal.
The aim is to create a more sustainable food system.
Fully one third of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide comes from food system, according to data collected by Ipcc.
Why was a new wording necessary?
The analysis carried out by Waste Watcher International Observatory finds correspondence in a European Commission study. Most consumers don’t know the difference between the two wordings that are already of food labels: “use by” and “best before”.
The first term refers to food safety, the second one refers to quality.
“Use by” indicates the effective expiry date by which the food is still safe for the consumer, after which it may mold.
The second wording, on the other hand, indicates the moment when the food quality changes.
The food is still safe, but it may not have the same nutritional and taste qualities.
“Best before” indeed largley concerns fresh produce such as yogurt, mozzarella, milk etc.
The new wording “Often good after”, therefore, was necessary to make expiry dates clearer.
This choice has two positive effects: improvement in consumer decision-making process; food waste reduction.
What is the outlook for the future?
According to the European Commission, this initiative could help to reduce food waste which, at the European level, stands at around 57 million tons per year, that is 127 kilos per inhabitant.
The financial cost of this waste is approximately 130 million euro per year.
The inclusion of this new wording affirms itself in European Green Deal which has among its objectives the 50% reduction of European food waste by 2030.