The UK government, the country’s Food Standards Agency and anti-waste charity WRAP have joined forces to issue new food labelling guidelines.

The guidelines are intended to give shoppers more consistent storage and date label advice.

It is intended that they will be used by food manufacturers, retailers and brands as the industry standard and “bring together recommendations that ensure food is safe and adheres to legal requirements, with best practice information to ensure it is stored and used within time”.

WRAP said the move is to help tackle the two million tonnes of food wasted each year in UK homes purely from it not being used in time. It said a third of this food waste is triggered because of how shoppers interpret existing date labels.

The organisation is also calling for the use of logos alongside text more often, which consumers find easier to understand than text alone, it suggests.

WRAP is asking for the freezing Snowflake logo to be reinstated where it might have been removed, and for the introduction of a new Little Blue Fridge icon for foods which should be kept chilled, or benefit from being kept in the fridge.

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Heather Hancock, chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said: “I welcome this clear guidance to help tackle food waste, without compromising the safety of food. It will help businesses supply food that is properly described and stored, and safely provided to consumers. 

“Reducing food waste is really important to consumers. It’s a commitment we at the Food Standards Agency share with WRAP and Defra {the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs} and a growing majority of food businesses up and down the country.”