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Freezer confusion fuels waste

The fears consumers have about freezing food are largely unfounded, according to a study published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The research – released as part of Food Safety Week (July 4-10) – identified a number of freezing myths that are preventing people from using their freezers to make food go further.

These include:

  • 43% of those interviewed think that food should only be frozen on the day of purchase to be safe;
  • 38% incorrectly said it is dangerous to refreeze meat after it has been cooked; and
  • 36% wrongly believe that food can become unsafe to eat while in the freezer.

Over two thirds (68%) of the people surveyed have thrown food away in the past month, with bread (36%), fruit (31%), vegetables (31%) and leftover meals (22%) topping the list.

The most common reason given for throwing food away is that it is past its “use by” date, cited by over a third (36%) of respondents. Almost a third (30%) admit to throwing food away as they had bought too much and didn’t eat it, and over half (54%) say they feel guilty when they throw food away.

The reasons given can all be avoided by making better use of the freezer, said FSA director of policy Steve Wearne.

Previous research has shown that consumers are still baffled by the dates printed on food, and often throw away perfectly edible goods.