We are supporting this year’s Food Safety Week which runs from 4-10 July 2016. It aims to help people better understand how to waste less food safely, by making more use of their freezers.
New research from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has revealed that 68% of UK adults report that they have thrown food away in the past month.
Over two thirds (36%) of those who had thrown away food said they have discarded food as it was past its use by date. Other top reasons for throwing food away include buying too much and not eating it, which was reported by 30% of people; and not having the chance to eat food before it went off, which almost a quarter (23%) gave as an excuse for putting food in the bin.
This contributes to the 7 million tonnes of food that is wasted in the UK each year which, according to the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, costs each household around £470 annually.
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Help tackle the problem
Epping Forest District Council is backing the FSA’s campaign to encourage residents in the Epping Forest district and across the UK to help tackle the problem of food waste 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.
This waste is unnecessary
Kevin Hargin, head of Foodborne Disease Control at the FSA said: “Every year, we throw away 7 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. 31% 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.
The freezer is like a pause button
Councillor Will Breare-Hall, Environment Portfolio Holder at Epping Forest District Council 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 our 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’s the quality that deteriorates over time, so the FSA recommends eating it within 3 to 6 months and checking for any freezing instructions on the packaging. Once defrosted, the pause button is off, so defrost food as and when you need it and eat it within 24 hours of it being fully defrosted.”
Want to know more?
For more information on freezing food safely, visit www.food.gov.uk/useby or follow @foodgov #EatitCookitFreezeit on Twitter for tips and advice throughout Food Safety Week.