New government-backed refrigeration guidance out of the United Kingdom is suggesting that fruit produce such as apples, oranges, and pears should be kept in the fridge in order to keep them fresher longer. What is big government doing in my fridge, you ask? Well, the research was conducted in an effort to cut down food waste as well as simplify labeling on certain foods.
According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), refrigerating these types of produce could add three days to their shelf life. For perishable foods, the best way to store them for longevity is in the original packaging in a fridge where the temperature is kept below 5°C.
WRAP has issued new labeling guidance to supermarkets, recommending a blue fridge logo be added to certain food packaging alongside a label saying “store in the fridge below 5°C.” WRAP says, “Only one third of UK fridges are set within the recommended temperature range, below 5°C, and another third operate above 9°C. Ensuring the correct temperatures for household fridges and storing the right foods in the fridge can add an average of three days life to food, and save households £280 million a year.”
They believe that this measure, along with additional simplification of food labels, might cut food waste by 350,000 tons per year by 2023, and save consumers £1 billion. Other measures such as reducing the number of date labels on products to reduce confusion and reinstating a snowflake logo on all products suitable for freezing.
Products past their “best before” date can be eaten safely (according to WRAP) and can also be redistributed to food banks and other charities. They say that making this clear would mean the potential to increase food redistribution four-fold by 2025, the equivalent of at least 360 million meals a year.
WRAP says, “to tackle household food waste there needs to be a shift in actions taken at home and we are calling on people to love their labels; stressing that we all need to take the time to note these important guides, understand what they tell us – and act on this advice.” These guides are backed by the government and the Food Standards Agency (FSA)
All food businesses are also encouraged to use WRAP’s guidelines in order to help inform their customers on proper refrigeration and overall safe food consumption. The Chairman of the FSA, Heather Hancock, believes that these new guidelines would reduce food waste without compromising safety.