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Thursday, December 7, 2023

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Budget 2022/2023 – Food Waste: Still Good For Consumption Past “Best Before Date”

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The Best Before does not announce the Expiry Date! A law that aims to reduce food waste, increase donation, and boost consumer purchasing power. The sale of products after their “Best Before” date at a reduced price, i.e. at 50% of the initial price, has been put forward by the Minister of Finance. This measure has been worked on in collaboration with Foodwise, which has been fighting for two years for the separation of the Expiry Date from the Best Before date.

Understanding the two indications

A common practice in many countries that will be adopted in Mauritius. It consists of offering for sale and at very low prices a selection of products that have reached their minimum durability date (MDD) but are not microbiologically sensitive, i.e. do not have a harmful impact on the health of the consumer. Such products are often labelled “Best before”. The products concerned are classified as medium and low perishable, a long list of which is found in the products used by Mauritians.

The ‘Expiry Date’ indication applies to foodstuffs which are microbiologically highly perishable and which are therefore likely, after a short period, to present an immediate danger to human health.

Budgetary measure in favour of FoodWise

In his move to make essential commodities accessible, Finance Minister Dr Renganaden Padayachy announced that “commodities will have to be sold at a discount of at least 50% of the original price after their minimum durability date but before their expiry date.

This represents a ‘Win’ for FoodWise and the cause against food waste. As FoodWise co-founder and Managing Director Rebecca Espitalier-Noël explains, “FoodWise’s advocacy with the government is focused on making a clear distinction between Best Before and Expiry Date in the Food Regulations 1999. According to a study carried out by FoodWise among a hundred companies in the food sector, the inability to sell or give away products after their best before date is the primary cause of food waste. This new measure could, according to the same study, reduce food waste by 25% in their companies. We thank the competent authorities for this measure”.

Explaining further this problem of distinction between these two indications, Rebecca Espitalier-Noël explains to us “To date, no distinction is made between these two dates within the law which brings confusion and does not allow the donation or sale of products that have passed their Best Before”. This social enterprise created in 2018 has already saved more than 830 tons of food / 3.3 million meals. She is already announcing that the next step: “the amendment of the Food Regulations 1999 to strengthen the social enterprise’s fight against food waste”

Here is the video of her speech on the benefits of this measure:

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