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Market for food close to expiry rises in China

(People's Daily Online)    10:27, August 18, 2019

In China, import shops, online platforms, and shopping apps are providing massive discounts on food which is close to its expiration date.

The business model has gained popularity among a rising number of consumers who care more about using food before it expires, rather than before its best-before date.

A consumer in Beijing surnamed Jin likes to buy food with an expiry date of 30 days or less, such as cookies, potato chips and bread. She believes that these products are perfectly safe to eat.

Are these products really safe? A food safety supervisor said yes, as long as the food is stored correctly, and the cold chain for fresh products is reliable.

Beijing has opened more than 10 stores selling best-before products, to everyone from homemakers, seniors, students, and nine-to-fivers. On China's online marketplace Taobao, there are currently 2,852 stores selling food in this way.

This unique food market is an effective channel to save resources, reduce food inventory, and avoid food waste, industry insiders say. Globally, about 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted each year, mostly thrown out before it reaches its expiration date.

Sellers should, however, be honest about how close the food is to the expiration date, said a lawyer. In this respect, Beijing has launched a set of standards helping consumers figure out when food becomes unsafe for human consumption.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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