Think food safety – think waste less

Posted on: 30 June 2016

Food Safety Week takes place between 4 and 10 July, with the focus this year being to help people understand how to waste less food, by making more use of their freezers.

North Devon Council is backing the Food Standard Agency’s campaign to encourage residents in the district to help tackle the problem of food waste. This can be done by planning ahead and, if necessary, to freeze food within its use-by date, if there is a chance you may end up throwing it away once the use-by date expires.

New research from the FSA revealed 68% of UK adults reported throwing food away in the past month. The majority of those who had thrown away food said they discarded food as it was past its use-by date. Other top reasons for throwing food away included buying too much and not eating it, as well as not having the chance to eat it before it went off.

Councillor Brian Moores, North Devon Council’s Executive member for health and wellbeing, said: “Lots of people believe food can only be frozen on the day of purchase, but the freezer is like a pause button and you can safely freeze most foods right up to the use-by date. You can even cook defrosted meat into a new meal and freeze it to eat on another day. With so much food being thrown away in the UK each year, we want North Devon residents to think about how they can use their freezers to their full potential, rather than putting food in the bin.”

While food is kept safe in the freezer, it is the quality that deteriorates over time, so the FSA recommends eating it within three to six months and checking for any freezing instructions on the packaging. Once food has been defrosted, people are recommended to eat it within 24 hours.

Kevin Hargin, head of Foodborne Disease Control at the FSA said: “Every year, we throw away seven million tonnes of food and drink from our homes. Much of this waste is unnecessary and a better understanding of how to freeze food safely could go a significant way towards tackling the problem. Our research shows that many of the fears the public has about freezing food are unfounded and we need to ensure they know the facts.”

North Devon Council’s Executive member for environment, Councillor Rodney Cann, added: “Of course, we understand that some food waste is inevitable, so please remember to make the most of our food waste recycling service. All raw and cooked food can be placed in your green wheelie bin and if you’re not on a wheelie bin round, you can have a kerbside caddy for your food waste instead. Put simply, there’s no reason why food waste should be put in your black bin and bags any more.”

More information about North Devon’s food waste recycling service, including how to request a kerbside caddy can be found on our website.

For more information on freezing food safely, visit the FSA website or follow @foodgov #EatitCookitFreezeit on Twitter for tips and advice throughout Food Safety Week.

2 comments on “Think food safety – think waste less

  1. Mark Alcock says:

    Fully support this approach but of course the inevitable disposal of food waste is now more likely to be thrown in to the black bin if households, who currently benefit from the free green service choose not to pay for the green wheelie bin collection if this scheme is adopted by the Council. Will the food caddy be rolled out to all households even if a green wheelie bin is maintained so there is still the choice to recycle food waste? It will be interesting to understand the likely income generated from charging for green wheelie bins balanced against the predicted increase in cost from tipping to landfill. Northern Devon should be pushing for an energy from waste plant.

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