The change could come in next month and would not require new legislation.

New guidance is aimed at putting the focus on ‘use by’ dates rather than the ‘best before’ dates aimed at encouraging more consumers to eat the food they buy.

Government figures estimate around 8.3 million tonnes of food is thrown away by households in the UK every year.

It means an average sized family with children literally throw away about £680 a year spent on food.

The figures also reveal the CO2 impact of eating the thrown away food, is the equivalent of taking 1 in 4 cars off the road.

Grocer Magazine’s fresh food editor, Julia Glotz, said food was safe before the use by date and consumers should use ‘common sense.’

She said: “People need to learn how to store things properly it’s just as important as understanding the difference between use by and best before dates.

“It’s not about getting rid of dates altogether but it about making sure people get the most of products they buy by storing them appropriately.”

Luke Walsh

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