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The lie of “expired” food : Cautious best-before dates cause unnecessary food waste

At the moment, around 3,255 tons of food waste are disposed in Hong Kong every day, which is equivalent to the weight of 226 double-decker buses. Over 155 million pounds of food that has passed its “best before” date but is still perfectly edible is thrown away in Hong Kong each year.

 Use By VS  Best Before

It may be difficult to understand how the government defines expiration in relation to food labels. There are two types of expiration labels in Hong Kong, according to the Food and Drugs (Composition and Labeling) Regulations. When a food item has a “best-before” date, it means that if it is properly stored, it should be reasonably anticipated to maintain its unique attributes up to and including the designated date. On the other hand, highly perishable commodities like meat and dairy are labeled with “Use By” dates. It is not advised to eat certain foods after the use-by date since doing so might put human health in imminent danger. The public, on the other hand, is mostly unaware of the significance of the two food labels.They erroneously believe the printed dates rather than using their senses since they have a limited understanding of expiration. Food waste is the end outcome.

We should be extra cautious when eating food that has “Use By” indications from a microbiological standpoint. It is best to avoid consuming these things since they are susceptible to bacterial development. Best-before dates, on the other hand, solely pertain to quality. Even beyond its expiration date, food may still be edible even though its quality may not be at its best. 

Sustainable Eating lags behind

According to cases researched abroad, Hong Kong’s food labeling is behind other cities. The “best-before” label has been abolished in various western nations, and these nations also have stores that are comparable to Wefood in Denmark and Approved Food in the UK.  

Instead of throwing expired or blemished food in the garbage, a new Danish supermarket is offering a tasty proposition for how to curb food waste by giving leftover, unwanted food a second shelf life.

Sustainable Food Tip 

    • Balance Your Diet 

      Choose a diet rich in green, pulses, fruit and vegetables

    • Reduce Consumption 

      Decrease the amount of meat, fish and dairy in your diet

    • OPT For Natural Products

      Forget about precooked, transgenic and processed products

    • Avoid Waste

        Only buy the amount of food you are going to eat

    • Protect the Environment

      If you eat seasonal food, you will reduce the CO2 emissions

    • Support Fair Trade 

      Choose food that promote a respectful business relationship