Tips for food consumers

April 2, 2022

Minimise food waste while focusing on food safety

You can help reduce food waste by:

  • keeping track of “use by” and “best before” dates on food
  • Always store your excess cooked food/ fruits/veggies/open sauces/juices in the fridge( short term)/freezer( long term)
  • Keep cheese tightly wrapped
  • Keep potatoes and onion  separate
  • Always  store  and cook the packed food products as per instructions given in the package
  • Keep your bananas out of the fridge and away from other fruits due to ethylene gas from bananas can quickly ripen other fruits. Take extra care to your fruits and vegetables to keep in a right and safe way to consume effectively and safely  to reduce waste  and save money in the family budget
  • Always keep the meat in your freezer, if you are not using it within two days after purchase.  Always keep the meat in the fridge at 4 degrees immediately after purchase from supermarkets/butchers
  • wrapping veggies airtightly/ salads in an airtight container lined with paper towel help them to keep fresh longer
  • Conduct a weekly audit of your fridge and freezer to know what must be used first and plan shopping accordingly
  • asking for packing  leftover any food you ordered  to  eat at a restaurant
  • Donating your ( home/restaurant/events) surplus food  to food banks, a local charity, if it is safe to consume
  • feeding pets and animals leftover food, as long as it is safe for them to eat it
  • donating surplus food.
  • Upscaling to new products  if any fruits and vegetables if possible ( such as juice, pickle, dried forms)

However, also be aware there are some rules and guidelines to follow to do these safely, including feeding food waste to animals.

Advice for storing and using leftover food

  • Store food in clean, sealed containers.
  • Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within 2 hours.
  • Reheat leftovers until steaming hot (over 75oC) and do not reheat more than once.
  • Use chilled leftovers within a couple of days.

Know the date marks used on food products

Date marks indicate how long food can be kept before it starts to deteriorate or becomes unsafe to eat.

Most packaged food with a shelf life of up to 2 years requires a date mark. The exception is for food products in small packages (like chewing gum), where there is no food safety concern.

The date marks are:

  • Use by: A product after its “use by” date can make you sick, even if the food appears to look, smell, or taste fine.
  • Best before: Food may still be safe to eat after the date but it may have lost some quality.
  • Baked (Bkd) on or similar: Usually found on bread products with a shelf life of fewer than 7 days.

Foods with a shelf life of over 2 years don’t need to show a “best before” date.

To reduce your food waste, keep a list of food you have and their expiry dates. This will also help you with meal planning.

You may be able to freeze some types of food for later use. Check the food’s packaging and label for guidance.

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