Freeze out food waste

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) is marking Food Safety Week (4-10 July) by increasing consumer understanding of how food waste can be slashed by making better and more use of freezers.

The agency has conducted research which shows that misconceptions about how to freeze food safely are contributing to food waste in the UK. Findings revealed:

• 43 per cent think that food should only be frozen on the day of purchase to be safe
• 38 per cent incorrectly said it is dangerous to refreeze meat after it has been cooked
• 36 per cent wrongly believe that food can become unsafe to eat while in the freezer.

In addition, over two thirds (68 per cent) of those questioned have thrown food away in the past month, with the most common reason given for doing so being that it is past its use by date – cited by more than a third (36 per cent) of respondents.

Steve Wearne, director of policy at the FSA, says, “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. 31 per cent of the people we spoke to said that more information about how to safely freeze food would help them to reduce their food waste – that’s why freezing is the focus of this year’s Food Safety Week.”

With each UK household estimated to waste the equivalent of around six meals a week, a better understanding of how to freeze food safely could go a significant way towards tackling such high and unnecessary levels of waste. Plus, over half of those surveyed by the FSA admitted to feeling guilty when they throw food away, so fingers crossed the FSA’s messages resonate with them this Food Safety Week and beyond.

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