Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission
During the recent revision of the EU legal framework on food labelling, the ‘best before’ date was not questioned. On the contrary, the legislators considered it necessary to clarify more clearly the distinction between the ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates. In this regard, Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011(1) states that beyond the ‘use by’ date, a food shall be deemed to be unsafe in accordance with Article 14(2) to (5) of Regulation No 178/2002(2).
There is no evidence to cause the Commission to abolish the ‘best before’ date. Nevertheless, the Commission could examine whether, and for which products, the extension of the current derogation from providing the ‘best before’ date would be possible.
In the context of the Commission's Roadmap to a Resource-Efficient Europe(3) and in the context of the forthcoming Communication on Sustainable Food (due for adoption in 2013) the Commission is analysing with relevant stakeholders how to minimise food waste without compromising food safety, and will also consult Member States and experts in order to define the most appropriate actions at EU level. The effectiveness of revealing food waste figures from supermarkets, in order to further prevent food waste, will be considered.