Onion Peeler

What do food labels mean and should we take them literally?

We waste an alarming amount of food yearly. Believe it or not expiration dates are not always an accurate representation of a food’s shelf life, yet these labels are causing millions of tonnes of food waste every year. British households throw away 8.3million tons of food and drink a year, with an estimated 5 million tons of that amount still being perfectly edible. This amounts to over 17 million tonnes of CO2: the equivalent of emissions from 4 million cars.
Every day 1.3million unopened yogurt pots are dumped, as well as five million potatoes, a million loaves of bread, a million slices of ham, and 440,000 ready meals. The average family with children bins £680 worth of food a year. The UN has estimated that a third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted globally.
Display Until
This label is not a legal requirement and is used by supermarkets to help staff rotate stock. The Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) does not recommend ‘display until’ labels as they cause confusion, with fresh food getting wasted.
Best Before
‘Best Before’ dates relate to the quality of the food. If the food is stored according to the recommended guidelines, the food should be edible up to and including the ‘best before’ date. Supermarkets can still sell food after the ‘best before’ date if the food still meets safety requirements. Once the food has deteriorated past being safe the retailer cannot sell or even give the food away.
Use By
The ‘use by’ date is used for highly perishable foods, mainly chilled foods such as meat, fish, eggs and milk. Legally food cannot be sold after the ‘use by’ date.
Loose unpackaged food such as fresh fruit and vegetables does not need to carry a date label but if the fruit and vegetables have been peeled or cut then they must then be labelled. Manufacturers work on a margin of safety, so eating food past ‘its use by date’ will not necessarily send you straight to A&E. Meaning that if you store food under perfect conditions it should be safe for a few days purely judging by the way it looks and smells.
Food packing and food preservation has come a long way in recent times. Vacuum packing and packaging food in modified atmospheres (oxygen free) helps delay the time that the food will spoil.
M&P Engineering has been manufacturing food production, food preparation and food packaging machinery used

by major food manufactures worldwide for over 50 years. M&P, experts in the manufacture of food processing machinery used worldwide, such as food filling machines and food depositors. M&P is most renowned for its onion peeling machine that can peel all sizes of onions in a unique dry peeling process at high speed and volume. Other machines include its Radish top and tailer and its latest product for fresh cut fruit and vegetables: the fresh cut carousel grid cutting machine.
M&P Engineering has gained a name and a strong reputation for itself worldwide due to its strong customer service based approach, manufacturing food processing machinery that fit their clients’ needs. M&P listens to its customer feedback and is constantly improving its machinery and coming up with innovative solutions.
For more information about M&P’s food processing machinery visit http://www.mp-engineering.co.uk/.