Reduction of Food Waste -- A Legal-Economic Analysis of Durability Dating
21 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2015 Last revised: 20 Jul 2015
Date Written: April 6, 2015
Food waste has multiple causes. One is vested in durability dating, more specifically the labelling of the date of minimum durability (‘best before’-date), or alternatively the expiration date (‘use-by’-date). The occurrence of food waste has the characteristic of ‘wickedness’, as its prevention may jeopardise the attainment of conflicting aims (like food safety and security). The problem is that food businesses are uncertain about the legal rules and economic consequences of different types of durability dating. Consumers are uncertain about the technical state of a product after expiry of a durability date. The goal of this paper is to address food waste from a legal-economic perspective, especially as regards the effect of durability dating on it. We focus on four factors that affect the occurrence of food waste in relation to the risks connected to durability dating: uncertainties as to the appropriate type of date, precautionary time-setting by actors, amplification of risk and multiplication of damage. We aim to recommend changes in the present EU regulation, to reduce food waste streams: better information to the consumer, limiting legal defences of producers, limiting durability information to use-by dating, and use of a sell-by date next to the information to consumers.
Keywords: food waste, EU policy, use-by date, date of minimum durability, food law
JEL Classification: A12, K13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation