By eliminating Use By dates on dairy products retailers could reduce an estimated 350,000 tonnes of avoidable household waste per year according to WRAP.
Equating to 500 million pints of milk, the charity said consumers should use a sniff test to determine the freshness of milk, and by doing so UK homes could save £1 billion annually.
In a survey carried out by the charity, it found that around 2 million tonnes of food thrown away by households is due to products ‘not being used in time.’
The charity says that hard cheese and pasteurised fruit juice products have both moved away from carrying Use By labels and now specify Best Before dates instead.
Steve Reed, Director at WRAP said:
We know that changes to packs and labels, which give clarity around date and storage options, can have a dramatic effect on how much good food ends up in the bin so getting the right messages in place is critical.”
“Around 150,000 tonnes of household food waste was avoided in 2015 compared to 2007, as a result of technical changes to products, saving UK families around £400 million a year.”
Speaking to The Times ahead of the publication released by WRAP earlier this week, Andrew Parry, WRAP’s special adviser on food and drink said that new guidance would be issued later in the year as part of an industry consultation.
A spokeswoman for Dairy UK said that it had worked closely with WRAP on the creation of guidelines on datemarks and storage instructions for dairy products in 2012 and would take an “active role” in the review of current Defra guidance.
WRAP also stated that much more guidance was needed for freezing guidance and although progress had been made over the past few years more action was needed for meat and bakery products.
It also discovered that as few as a third of UK fridges are set within the recommended temperature range, and by adding labelling support, an average of three days life to food could be added alongside £280 million a year saved for households.
The Government recommends that fridges should be set as low as 5°C because of listeria, a food poisoning bacterium that is psychrotrophic. Models have shown that listeria grows twice as fast at 8°C as it does at 5°C.