Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Labour to abolish 'sell by' date



It is somewhat apt that a government which is itself way past its 'sell by' date is to abolish the whole concept of a 'sell by' date, thereby eliminating from the political vernacular a must useful term of derision. Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has also announced plans to eliminate the 'display until' date because 'thousands of tonnes of perfectly good food are mistakenly thrown away every year'.

According to Channel 4, '370,000 tonnes of food are thrown away each year after passing the “best before” date, and another 40,000 tonnes are not even opened by consumers'.

Since it is only the 'use before' date which has any bearing on food safety, this proposal would appear to be eminently sensible. It beggars belief that we discard 403,000 tons of perfectly edible food per annum, presumably to landfill. The developed world has both the means and ability to end hunger and starvation in the poorest parts of the world: it lacks only the political will. But there is something morally repugnant about a society which is content to discard mountains of perfectly edible fresh food while its own poorest live on the most meagre diets of e-numbers, preservatives, additives, toxins, emulsifiers, stabilisers, sweeteners and colourings.

21 Comments:

Blogger Belsay Bugle said...

Quite right.
It ought to go further and abolish the wicked regulations that prevent pig farmers feeding to pigs, as swill (as they did since time began) what's past its use by date.
Then we would be recycling our waste food.
Also it's unlawful for some elf n safety reason I forget, to give away food that is past its best at the back door of supermarkets.
And we could make the supermarkets take back empty bottles - with a deposit on them - and save the vast waste of glass that goes on daily across the country.
There's nothing intentionally green about this, it's just about careful living, a thing we abandoned after the last war and could be reintroduced if the government really cared about it.

9 June 2009 at 16:46  
Anonymous eeyore said...

There is an obesity epidemic, farmers are going bankrupt wholesale, and food is little valued that a third of all sold is simply thrown away. Can these three things possibly be related?

9 June 2009 at 16:47  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

I think this has more to do with Supermarket Profits than Public health concerns.

9 June 2009 at 17:07  
Blogger peter_dtm said...

who invented the stupid things any way - my nose & taste buds (like those of our ancestors) have been perfectly capable of detecting foodstuff past its best.

When living in Southern Africa a few years ago the only Guinness I could get was ALWAYS well past its 'sell by date' - & there was absolutely nothing wrong with it ...

9 June 2009 at 17:07  
Blogger ZZMike said...

The US has a similar plan, but the words used are "best by mm/dd/yy". (I never asked about a "better by" date.)

Some markets go through the meat and produce, pull what's past the date, and give it to charitable organizations. So it isn't just thrown out.

Common sense would tell them that ... oh, sorry, forgot about that (common sense being exceedingly uncommon).

9 June 2009 at 18:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9 June 2009 at 18:25  
Anonymous Katy said...

I'm surprised at M&S for signing up to this new waste = gas system. Traditionally, they've given food past its 'best before' and 'sell by' dates to the local soup kitchen.

ps Belsay Bugle - the reason you can't remember the reason, is that this isn't true. Supermarkets can and do give away their food in this manner. I suspect that, as usual, 'elf 'n safety' has taken the can for someone's laziness. If you take the trouble to read the H&S legislation we have, it has few absolute prohibitions; it is mostly left to common-sense. This is why it's so easy to blame the legislation, just as it's so easy to flout it.

9 June 2009 at 19:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter_dtm: "I could get was ALWAYS well past its 'sell by date' - & there was absolutely nothing wrong with it ..."

Beer, larger, stout & spirits contain alcohol which is a preservative anyway.

Salt which is vilified these days as being eeeeevil, was also used as a preservative, hence salt beef and salted butter.

9 June 2009 at 21:11  
Anonymous would rather be a mouse said...

Meanwhile, the whole country stinks of curry. Spices are also preservatives, after all.

So subtly - but in true and honest thought - do our glorious lawmakers address an issue that concerns us most deeply: immigration! [Irony]

9 June 2009 at 21:53  
Blogger Dick the Prick said...

Bollox to this Your Grace, if it begs the moment - the bastards are going for the voting system now. It is simply wrong. I ask for guidance.

9 June 2009 at 22:20  
Blogger ooberLib said...

Dick the whatsamy thinga

I was having very similar thoughts about this. It's starting to get surreal. Is it me, or does this government seem to be getting stranger and scarier by the day?

I am starting to see the sith Lord in a more Anti-christ role as each day passes.

ARE WE EVER GOING TO BE RID OF THEM?

It seems they are practicing with the food as a kind of subliminal auto suggestion so we will be ready when they move the goal posts for the voting system.

Don't laugh.

9 June 2009 at 23:11  
Anonymous Andrew K said...

I for one am fed up with Brie which is at least two weeks from edibly ripe on its use by date.

And fruit which is rock hard on its. It seems to be impossible to buy genuinely ripe fruit - it all goes into the skip well before then as past its date.

10 June 2009 at 00:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good stuff Cranmer.

However a little more attention to WHY this situation happened in the first place would be a fine thing.

As always it was a conspiracy between government and the corporatist powers that COMPLETELY and UTTERLY control just about everything, and all that is truly EVIL. Simply to increase the price of food, when the stuff is actually in plentiful supply. The same thing of course happened to house prices.

These people are not evil just because they directly and deliberately cause all the really bad man made things on this planet. But because of the secretive, not to say piss taking, murderous way by which they have always gone about there business.

Dishonesty is a SIN against god and his creations. Through secretive covert means we are farmed like common cattle, and slaughtered like over-trusting SHEEP.

This or any other government is not concerned with the amount of dangerous chemical infested food the common people eat. However it is getting increasingly concerned about the coming level of civil disorder which will inevitably follow when these hopeless wretches, can no longer afford to feed themselves at all.

Atlas shrugged

10 June 2009 at 01:16  
Anonymous not a mchine said...

Oh your grace , I thought you may have understood the macevellian nature of this government better .

This policy is so that the rebells have no rotten fruit and veg to throw on ministerial visits .

perhaps the new slogan "dont squander your mushy peas because they have quantatively eased"

10 June 2009 at 02:26  
Anonymous Mark said...

I had just looked in my cupboard before reading this article for some herbs (not the smoking variety) and the use by date of me oregano is 12/07. I'm sure they are ok - I hope so anyway because they tasted fine to me with the cheese and toast.

10 June 2009 at 03:12  
Blogger haddock said...

Food waste is not fed to pigs as it was prohibited as a way of preventing Foot and Mouth disease. The disease is most likely brought in to the country in 'bush meat' or similar food by various 'communities'
I hear on the radio at times a public service advert where a cockney sounding geezer is told he cannot bring sausages into the country.... anything rather than offend any 'community' other than the aforementioned cockney geezer or his regional variants

10 June 2009 at 05:55  
Anonymous would rather be a mouse said...

So I, for one, am following Mark's example and looking up use-by dates - my Sage shows Nov. 2004! Could be an economic stimulus if we all rushed out and replaced everything....

The exercise doesn't stop me from wondering how our masters are going to tweak the ballot system - or what they did in Leicester - but I'm really glad Your Grace believes in tons and not their nasty euro homophone.

Wooooops - who's that knocking at the door?

10 June 2009 at 06:49  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Labour is well past its Sell-By date but is hanging on right up to the Use-By date in June 2010.....then it will be in the skip and incineration

10 June 2009 at 08:04  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

You say that:

‘The developed world has both the means and ability to end hunger and starvation in the poorest parts of the world: it lacks only the political will.’

I am unsure whether there is a better way of looking at the problem.

The Developed World takes aid from the pockets of the ‘poor’ of the developed world through taxation, and then deposits that money in the bank accounts of corrupt Third World dictators, who in turn deposit the money in Swiss bank accounts.

I believe if my memory serves me right that a recent OECD report stated that it was Anglo-spheric countries that have developed more efficiently their economies compared to those countries which were little influenced by Great Britain.

It seems to me that the Anglo-spheric countries have been influenced by concepts within Judaeo-Christianity. For example, Man is made in the image of God translates into rule of law and all men are equal before the law.

To develop an economy the rule of law is vital for markets. Men need to be certain that, for example, contractual law principles will be enforced.

Often that fundamental basis, the rule of law, is absent in Third World countries. The ‘rule of law’ runs from chief to peasant, hardly ever from peasant to chief. In other words the more powerful you are the more justice you get: might is right (the reverse of this is true in the Judaeo-Christian conception of law).

Let me take another example; why do Arabs find the idea of democracy difficult to accept? Let’s examine one of their proverbs: I and my brother against the world. When that is not enough the proverb is extended to ‘I, my brother and my cousin against the world.’

In such a culture markets cannot develop fully because developing markets require the ability to do business with the stranger. For to do business with the stranger requires such ideas as equality before the law (anathema to a tribal chief); due process and enforcement of judicial decisions.

In other words the best that the Developed World can offer the Third World is not money but Christian thought and missionaries. Armed with Judaeo-Christian ideas on law and justice people in the Third World can be left to their own ingenuity to arrive at the conclusion that the rule of law is vital if they want to become rich.

10 June 2009 at 08:11  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Like DTP, I find it repulsive that the political party who wrecked our voting system and made it a fraudulent mockery thinks it fit to "improve" same system.

10 June 2009 at 08:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the pursuit of profit, supermarkets are reportedly designed by psychologists; the gullible are 'nursed' into buying what they do not need. Gluttony/wasting food were considered sinfull in my upbringing and we were made aware of people who had little or nothing to eat.

It's high time supermarkets were held accountable for the costs of disposing the mountains of plastic packages customers have no option other than purchase.

10 June 2009 at 13:07  

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