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Saturday 23 August 2014

Throwing out food costs us €1,000 a year

Breda Heffernan

Published 20/11/2012 | 05:00

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IRISH households could save an average of €1,000 a year by cutting down on the amount of unused food they bin.

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New research by Safefood has found that 30pc of food purchased by Irish households ends up being thrown away, with bread accounting for almost half of all unused food. It is followed by fruit (15pc), dairy products (12pc), vegetables (10pc) and cooked, packaged meat (4pc).

It also found there is confusion about when food is still safe to eat and when it should be thrown out.

One in three consumers believe 'best before' and 'use by' dates on food labels mean the same thing. Almost half know that there is a difference, but they are unsure what it is.

Safefood and the Environment Protection Agency ( EPA) are running a Cut Food Waste campaign in a bid to reduce the amount of food we throw away.

Dr Gary Kearney, director of food science at Safefood, said: "Our advice is to treat 'best before' dates as a guideline and 'use by' dates as a deadline.

"With most people underestimating just how much of their weekly grocery bill is wasted on food that is in the end thrown out, consumers can save money by focusing on these dates," he added.

Odile Le Bolloch, spokesperson for the EPA, said: "Understanding the difference between 'best before' and 'use by' dates will empower consumers to stop wasting food and save them money."

Irish Independent

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