Supermarket chain Morrisons has announced it is scrapping the ‘use by’ dates on its milk bottles in favour of consumers using the ‘sniff test’ to see whether the milk can still be used to prevent food waste. WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) estimates that one third of all food produced for humans is wasted globally each year, the equivalent of 1.3 billion tonnes and the UK wastes about 330,000 tonnes of milk annually, that’s about 490m pints of milk being poured down the sink.

Commercial Director of food waste recycling and sustainability firm Warrens Group Kevin Quigley applauds Morrisons decision and hopes other shops will follow suit and review how other product labels could be reconsidered to prevent food waste.

“It’s fantastic to see Morrisons taking a lead on this and empowering customers to use their common sense to decide whether milk is fit for consumption. They are also shining a spotlight on the important issue of food waste which is a huge contributor to climate change –  if food waste were a country it would be the third largest emitter after China and the US and it’s something we can collectively tackle as consumers and businesses together. I hope other supermarkets are taking note, Morrisons also scrapped ‘use-by’ dates on some of its own-brand yoghurt and hard cheese ranges last year.

“This is also an opportunity for companies to review how other product categories are labelled. Crisps, chocolate and cereal bars are the kind of products that are labelled with several dates but often sit in drawers and cupboards and last a long time. There are also certain products that might not be that good to eat alone after a certain time but could be used in cooking or baking – a stale loaf of bread for example – another often wasted food product can be turned into croutons or breadcrumbs. Wouldn’t it be great if some of these food waste prevention ideas were shared on the packaging by producers?

“Using the ‘sniff test’ might not always feel appropriate in the catering sector but there are other ways these companies can prevent food waste by opting for a dedicated food waste collection service where food is taken for anaerobic digestion and turned into energy and fertiliser for example.

“If businesses look at making the subtle changes that are necessary to prevent food waste they’ll be helping to tackle a problem that causes up to 10% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) emissions according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – it will also support any corporate sustainability pledges or business plans to reach net zero.”