Is re­mov­ing la­bels the best idea for shop­pers?

Cau­tious ap­proach A good thing to see Ap­pear­ances Pos­i­tive step

Wishaw Press - - FRONT PAGE -

Mar­ion Ward Brian Ward Mary-Anne and Poppy Su­san Jack­son with Luke

Tesco is re­mov­ing “best be­fore” la­bels from many of its fresh pro­duce lines, which the su­per­mar­ket gi­ant says will help re­duce waste.

Sharon Mac­Far­lane, duty man­ager at Tesco Ex­tra in Bel­haven Road, Wishaw, ex­plained that from the start of this week, the su­per­mar­ket is re­mov­ing the ad­vice from about 70 pre-pack­aged pro­duce lines to avoid “per­fectly ed­i­ble” food be­ing dis­carded.

The items that will lose the la­bel in­clude ap­ples, pota­toes, toma­toes, le­mons, other cit­rus fruit and onions.

“Best be­fore” la­bels in­di­cate that the qual­ity of a prod­uct may de­te­ri­o­rate af­ter the date in­di­cated.

In con­trast, “use by” dates in­di­cate when it be­comes less safe to con­sume the food.

“A lot of cus­tomers are telling us that they will judge a prod­uct by its ap­pear­ance and feel, rather than what it says on a sticker,” ex­plained Sharon.

The Wishaw Press went to the Bel­haven Road store to ask shop­pers what they thought about the lat­est move to re­duce food waste.

“I go by the ap­pear­ance of fruit and veg rather than what it says on the packet,” said Maryanne Gor­don, of Dims­dale, whose five- year- old daugh­ter, Poppy, has been learn­ing about healthy eat­ing as part of Health Week at St Ig­natius Pri­mary in Wishaw.

“We still eat food af­ter its best be­fore date, within rea­son. If it’s squishy, I throw it out.”

Su­san Jack­son, of Wishaw’s Blue­bell Wynd, says she doesn’t au­to­mat­i­cally dis­card food when it reaches its best be­fore date, but will throw it out when it’s past its sell-by.

But she agrees that Tesco’s de­ci­sion to re­move “best be­fore” la­bels is a pos­i­tive step to­wards re­duc­ing food waste.

Mar­ion Ward ad­mits she errs on the side of cau­tion when it comes to eat­ing pro­duce that is near­ing the end of its shelf life.

“If it’s com­ing up to its sell-by date, I will not take the chance, even if it looks al­right,” said Mar­ion, of Hamil­ton.

“I even throw out tins. Years ago, we didn’t have such things as sell-by dates.”

Her hus­band, Brian, says he as­sesses food’s fit­ness for con­sump­tion by its ap­pear­ance.

“The bud­get su­per­mar­kets have got good sellby dates.

“I have bought loose fruit that doesn’t have la­bels and have found that it’s all dried up in­side,” he said.

“I think do­ing away with the “best be­fore” stick­ers is a good thing, though.

“It will en­cour­age more peo­ple to keep food for a lot longer.”

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