FSA guidelines for food manufacturers

In what will likely be interpreted as a victory for food label reform activist, the FSA has recently announced that they will be considering the implementation of new food l a- bel changes which would ensure that customers would have access to storage and freezing advice on product packaging. Although, from an outsider ’ s perspective, this may seem like somewhat of a small change, it is important to note that food and be v- erage label reform has been a hotly contested arena for debate over the past several years due to the immense costs and health ramifications that various decisions will have on both food manufacturers and customers themselves. One of the most compelling pieces of evidence which has helped encourage the FSA to consider implementing these new changes is the fact that the UK generates nearly 7 metric tonnes of food waste on an annual basis. Given the immense food shortages all over the world, statistics such as these are impossible to ignore, particular ly if a possible solution such as this presents itself. It is the hope of food label reform activists that the implementation of freezing and storage instructions on food products will help consumers not only further the life of their products but also better understand when a product is actually unsafe to co n- sume. Far too much food is thrown out simply because individuals are suspicious as to whether it has been sitting out too long. These suspicions could largely be rem e- died if information was made available to consumers as to what constituted a safe and effective storage solution. According to extensive research undertaken by the FSA, a large number of consu m- ers in the UK do not properly understand the basic ‘ rules ’ of food freezing, such as when a food item can be frozen for proper storage, how long it can stay frozen, or if it can be frozen on multiple occasions. Because of this, it is the opinion of the FSA that Uk consumers are vastly underutilising their freezers and creating an environment that is primed for excessive food waste. Perhaps the most interesting statistic generated during these studies is as follows: nearly 90% of consumers have stated that there are certain products which they would never freeze, regardless of whether or not they were certain that freezing would damage the product in question. When asked if freezing information on pac k- aging could fundamentally change their meal storage practices, nearly 31% of r e- spondents acknowledged that it could so. It is also quite interesting to note that only 36% of respondents acknowledged that the sole reason for throwing out th eir food 7 | Page All Rights Reserved to Blue Ocean Media Private and Confidential was due to the fact that it was past the expiration date. This seems to imply that mi s- information and, perhaps, un founded suspicions, are leading to excessive food waste. It is the hope of the FSA and other organisations / activist groups that labelling r e- forms can help stem the tide of food waste which, in the vast majority of cases, is completely preventable. Only time will tell, however, if the vast trove of research and analysis being undertaken in this field will yield to beneficial results for the community and the environment at large. For those who are eager to learn more about the FSA ’ s research, information regarding this particular project and many more is available at the official website of the organisation.