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Food waste: Food is thrown into the trash
Countless foods are thrown away every day, although they would still be edible. That is why the Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Ilse Aigner (CSU) is campaigning for more careful use of food.
Not all foods that have passed their best-before date are inedible, but the products in question often end up in the garbage unscathed. According to the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, projections based on the figures from other EU member states have shown that food worth 330 euros per capita is wasted in Germany every year.
20 million tons of food land on the rubbish Although no verified figures are available, the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection assumes that up to 20 million tons of food will be thrown away annually in Germany. According to this, around ten percent of all packaged food still ends up in the original packaging. Given the malnutrition and hunger in developing countries, it is an intolerable condition worldwide. The food waste in this country is significantly influenced by the best before date. Because originally intended as a guide for consumers, the MHD today has almost the character of a law and as soon as the products are one day older than stated on the package, the food is usually thrown away unopened. But groceries don't have to go straight into the bin when the best-before date has expired, Doris Gräfe of the Consumer Advice Center North Rhine-Westphalia told the news agency "dpa". Often, the food can still be eaten after the best-before date and "consumers should rely on their own senses," emphasized Gräfe.
Expired foods are not necessarily spoiled.Not only do end consumers throw away food in bulk, most supermarkets also sort out all goods that have passed their best-before dates, regardless of whether they were still edible or not. The best before date often refers to specific properties of the food such as taste, smell and nutrient content - foods with an expired expiry date are therefore not necessarily spoiled. The foodstuffs are generally suitable for longer to be consumed than stated on the packaging, and spoiled products can usually be recognized relatively easily by their taste and smell, the experts at the consumer advice centers explained. Negative health consequences from eating expired food are therefore rather the exception.
Consumption of food with an expired best before date Doris Gräfe from the Consumer Advice Center North Rhine-Westphalia explained in an interview with the news agency "dpa" that food with a shorter shelf life is usually "still a few days longer" than stated on the packaging. Products with an expiration date of months or years, "often even several weeks" can be consumed after expiration. However, sugar and salt, for example, have an unlimited shelf life and are therefore sold without an expiration date. In addition, Christiane Manthey, head of the food and nutrition department at the Baden-Württemberg consumer center, told the Südkurier: "Dry foods, such as grain products, do not spoil as quickly as those with a high water and / or protein content". Fatty foods - like nuts - "can go rancid and then change their taste," added Manthey. The experts recommend that consumers rely more on their own sense of smell and taste for food again in the future and actually use the information on the best before date as a guide. (fp)
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