Change in your shelves. The labels of food products contain several essential information for consumers, in particular with regard to the expiry dates. Interviewed by Planet, two readers confirm that they look at the dates of the foods they buy, especially when it comes to meat and fresh produce, such as yogurt. Like many consumers, they tend to keep dates short and scour the shelves for the product that goes the furthest. If you’re used to taking a quick look at the date in question, do you still know what it actually means?
As the Ministry of the Economy explains, “foodstuffs presented for sale must offer clear and precise labeling in order to better inform the consumer”. Several statements are mandatory on pre-packaged products:
It is this last point that interests us more particularly, because it is often the one that makes you choose a product rather than another on the shelf. As specified on the ministry’s website, this date can be expressed in two forms:
The main difference between these two mentions is simple: when it is an MDD, the product remains consumable when the date has passed. This is not the case for products with a DLC.
Can’t see it very clearly? It’s normal, you are not alone. The lack of understanding leads some French people to throw away products that could still be consumed. While some are making more and more efforts to reduce food waste, others are not. It is for this reason that the labels of many products will soon be modified, explains TF1. Here is what will change in a few months.
As TF1 Info explains, the labels of food products will be given a facelift. If the main information will remain the same, in particular with regard to the list of foods and the date of consumption, details will be added about the latter.
When it comes to a Minimum Durability Date (DDM), the words “Best before 02/11/2022” will be accompanied by one of these two sentences:
This means that you will not take any risk to your health by consuming this product, but it could still lose taste and flavor after the date indicated on the product. This is for example the case for spices, biscuits or even pasta and rice. Some would even like to go even further, thanks to pictograms…
Keeping the product after the date listed is good, trusting your senses is better. This is the bet made by the company Too Good to Go, which fights against food waste by offering its subscribers baskets at low prices, in which the products presented are soon out of date. Cream, sandwich, meat… You can find everything in some supermarkets, which are more and more numerous to play the game.
The company launched a test in September 2021 in Belgium, asking consumers to trust their senses rather than the date on the label. Thanks to a pictogram, present on the products, it advises them to “observe”, “smell” and “taste” before throwing away a product. As Le Vif explains: “If the minimum durability date has passed, rather than throwing it away, the app invites consumers to take a good look at the product (what does it look like?) and then smell it (it is there a change in its smell?) and finally to taste it”. If there is “no tampering of any kind” then “the product can still be consumed!”. This initiative could soon arrive in France, after having proven itself in Belgium.