Best-before date only guarantee of freshness says Greenpeace

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According to Greenpeace, the best-before date (MHD) for food is only a guarantee of freshness. This results from the long-term check of the environmental protection organization, which Greenpeace published on Tuesday. According to this, five of six products were still edible even three months after exceeding the best-before date. Only the hard-boiled eggs failed the sensory test after one month; the testers then refrained from a taste test.

All other products – fresh eggs, Striezel, assorted bread, Selchroller and fresh cheese – passed the tests and were perfectly edible while complying with the packaging’s recommended storage conditions. The fresh eggs were completely undetectable even three months after the best-before date; in the case of mixed bread and Striezel, the addition of dry appeared during the test. In the case of the seltzer rolls, “little pale pink, clear serum separation” was recorded last. The fresh cheese repeatedly showed slight changes in the sensory examinations; it was ultimately downgraded several times to quality class 2 according to the AMA evaluation scheme. However, microbial testing showed no abnormalities.

Based on the long-term test results, Greenpeace called on the government to extend the mandatory reporting of discarded and donated food to sectors such as the food industry. “Our long-term check clearly proves that food lasts much longer than the best-before date would have us believe. Currently, 26 kilograms of perfectly good food ends up in the trash every second in Austria. This waste must be stopped,” said Melanie Ebner, agriculture spokeswoman at Greenpeace Austria.

Only at the end of May, the National Council passed an amendment to the Waste Management Act, including a reporting obligation for supermarkets. Starting in October, these are to report to the Ministry of the Environment, among other things, how much food they have thrown away. Currently, it is only known that an estimated 71,000 tons of food end up in Austrian grocery stores’ residual waste as avoidable waste every year. “The reporting obligation for supermarkets is a good first step to put a stop to food waste. But that alone will not be enough. The reporting obligation must also be rolled out to other sectors such as the catering industry, public utilities and food producers. In addition, concrete reduction targets must be specified for the individual sectors,” Ebner demanded.

According to Greenpeace, bread and baked goods are the most common items in Austria’s waste garbage can. Around 210,000 tons are disposed of annually in households, retail, and food production. Added is the amount of bread and other baked goods produced in the catering and hotel industry. “Every fifth food item that ends up in the trash is bread or pastries. However, as the Greenpeace long-term check shows, packaged baked goods in particular last far beyond their best-before date. Therefore, They should not automatically be thrown in the garbage can once the best-before date has passed,” the environmentalist recommended.

To ensure that less is thrown away in one’s household as well, Greenpeace recommended that consumers store food properly. “Most products last particularly long if they are stored in a dark, cool and dry place,” Ebner said. Those who want more storage tips can find them in the Greenpeace guidebook “Food Storage” (https://act.gp/3nWgbTV). The environmental organization generally advised people to rely on their senses. “Those who look, smell and touch first not only protect the environment, but also save money.”

  • source: APA/picture: hp
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