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Germany Seeks to Cut Consumer Food Waste in Expiry-Date Debate

March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Germany plans to reduce food waste by raising awareness among consumers that best-by dates are guidelines, as opposed to deadlines for when it’s safe to eat products, the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Ministry said.

The ministry has started a campaign to inform retailers about expiration dates and will distribute 4 million leaflets and information cards in 21,000 German supermarkets, it said in a statement on its website today.

Every German citizen, on average, discards 82 kilograms (181 pounds) of food a year at home, equivalent to two packed shopping carts, according to the ministry.

“The best-by date is not a throw-away date, but a guide,” Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner was cited as saying in the statement. “In general, a product is still perfectly edible for several days even after the best-by date.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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