// Waitrose is removing best before dates from hundreds of packaged fruit and vegetables
//The move is expected to eliminate millions of baskets worth of food waste
Waitrose will remove best before dates from nearly 500 fresh food products as part of a move to reduce food waste.
From September, the dates on packaged fruit and vegetables will be scrapped in a move which the grocery giant claims is expected to eliminate millions of baskets worth of food waste.
Consumers will be encouraged to “use their own judgment” to ascertain when food has gone off to avoid throwing away products that are still edible.
Marks & Spencer axed best before dates from more than 300 fruit and vegetable products earlier this month, while Morrisons announced plans to remove “use by” dates on milk back in January.
John Lewis Partnership director of sustainability and ethics Marija Rompani,at , which owns Waitrose, said: “UK households throw away 4.5 million tonnes of edible food every year, meaning that all the energy and resources used in food production is wasted.
“By removing best before dates from our products, we want our customers to use their own judgment to decide whether a product is good to eat or not, which in turn will increase its chances of being eaten and not becoming waste.
“By using up existing fresh food in our homes, we can also save on our weekly household food shop, which is becoming an increasingly pressing concern for many.”
Waste awareness programme WRAP has estimated that removing best before dates from fresh fruit and vegetable could save the equivalent of seven million shopping baskets of food from the bin.
WRAP’s director of collaboration and change Catherine David said: “Best before dates on fruit and veg are unnecessary and create food waste because they get in the way of people using their judgement when food is still good to eat.
“We are absolutely delighted by this move from Waitrose which will help stop good food ending up in the bin.”