“The best-before date is not the day to throw something away, rather it is an orientation aide,” said Consumer Minister Ilse Aigner on Monday, the start of a campaign to reduce waste.
People should, “look, smell and try” goods which are older than their best-before date, she said, warning that people should not confuse best-before dates with the use-by dates on things such as meat. The latter should be complied with, she said.
Aigner was launching a campaign to reduce the nearly 82 kilos of food each person in the country chucks out on average each year - contributing to the total of 11 million tonnes nationally - much of which could safely be eaten.
Most products can be safely and tastily eaten for several days after the best-before date, said Aigner as she announced that around four million leaflets would be handed out in 21,000 supermarkets across the country.
The President of the Association of German Groceries Traders Friedhelm Dornseifer said the industry hoped, “that more products will in the future end up on the plate rather than in the garbage.”
But he said the industry was not interested in changing or dropping the best-before dates, saying it had proved itself to be useful.
The Green party said Aigner's campaign was missing the main source of food waste. “By far the biggest share of thrown away food is fruit and vegetables where there is no use-by date,” said Nicole Maisch, the party's consumer spokeswoman.
A survey commissioned by Aigner's ministry showed that nearly one in five of people who were aware of the current discussion about food waste were already changing their habits.
DAPD/ DPA/The Local/hc