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In Switzerland, the quality requirements for food are very high. One measure that guarantees consumers impeccable food products is their dating. However, while the use-by date is an important safety indicator, the best-before date only a guarantees quality. Products with a best-before date, which include dairy products, often have a much longer shelf life. This is why Emmi is teaming up with Too Good To Go and adding the designation “often keeps longer” to a selection of its products. This phrase is intended to encourage consumers to check the condition of products that have exceeded their best-before date by using their own senses “look, smell, taste” and thus avoid food waste.

The average person in Switzerland throws away 330 kilograms of food every year*. There are many reasons for this. One of them is the dating, which is responsible for a significant proportion of food waste.

 

Meanings of the different dates

Various dates can be found on food, the meaning of which should in theory be intuitively clear. Many people, though, have difficulty with the best-before date, which simply serves as a quality guarantee. It is often equated with the binding use-by date. As a result, food frequently ends up being thrown away without being checked. As a rule of thumb, as long as a product smells and tastes good and there are no visible changes to it such as mould, it’s safe to consume.

This completely unnecessary food waste is an avoidable problem from a sustainability perspective. This is because all the resources (such as water and energy) that were used along the value chain to produce the food being thrown away are also lost.

 

Shelf life of dairy products and dairy alternatives

Many dairy products are labelled with a best-before date instead of a use-by date. This is because the usual signs of spoilage – such as mould on yogurt or rancid-tasting butter – are easily recognisable and consuming small quantities of a spoiled dairy product is not harmful to health. Nevertheless, the best-before date is warranted in our view because a product must not only be of top-quality and consumable, but also taste good. Even a flawless and properly stored product does not retain its optimal taste forever – but it does so at least until the specified best-before date and often keeps for longer.

 

A reminder for consumers

In order to avoid food waste, Emmi is supporting the efforts of Too Good To Go and is now adding the words “often keeps longer” to an initial selection of products. The first group of products includes the popular Luzerner Rahmkäse and the beleaf brand of dairy alternatives. Bircher müesli and other fresh products will follow as soon as possible as the lead time for the production of packaging in the food industry is several months. This note will also be included on fondue packaging from the autumn. Other products are currently being examined.

 

*Source: Federal Office for the Environment, FOEN (foodwaste.ch)

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