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Tesco scraps best before labels on fruit and veg packaging

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Supermarket giant Tesco is to scrap best before dates on its fruit and vegetables in a bid to fight food waste.

The move, which will affect nearly 70 products, is designed to prevent edible food being thrown away and end the confusion of best before dates.

Tesco Head of Food Waste Mark Little said: “We know some customers may be confused by the difference between ‘Best Before’ and ‘Use By’ dates on food and this can lead to perfectly edible items being thrown away before they need to be discarded.

“We have made this change to fruit and vegetable packaging as they are among the most wasted foods. Many customers have told us that they assess their fruit and vegetables by the look of the product rather than the ‘Best Before’ date code on the packaging.”

“The Food Standards Agency states that the best before date, sometimes shown as BBE, is about quality and not safety. The food will be safe to eat after this date but may not be at its best.”

Tesco’s move will cover own-label lines including citrus fruit, onions, apples, tomatoes and potatoes.

David Moon, Head of Business Collaboration at WRAP added: “Through the Courtauld Commitment 2025, WRAP is working with the food and drink sector to review all the evidence on date labelling for fresh produce and agree best practice.

“This change by Tesco provides a good opportunity to learn about the customer response, and we anticipate Tesco will share their findings. With all fresh produce, appropriate storage including use of the refrigerator is essential in giving the customer more time to use their food, so clarity of storage advice on pack and in-store will be vital.”