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Freeze it, don’t bin it!

Councillor Matt Garrett, Chairperson of Belfast City Council’s People and Communities Committee is encouraging people to make more use of their freezers to cut down on food waste and save money this Food Safety Week 4-10 July.

Councillor Matt Garrett, Chairperson of Belfast City Council’s People and Communities Committee is encouraging people to make more use of their freezers to cut down on food waste and save money this Food Safety Week 4-10 July.

Councillor Matt Garrett, Chairperson of Belfast City Council’s People and Communities Committee is encouraging people to make more use of their freezers to cut down on food waste and save money this Food Safety Week 4-10 July.

Belfast City Council is supporting this year’s Food Safety Week (Monday, 4- Sunday, 10 July), by encouraging people to cut down on food waste and save money by making more use of their freezers.

New research from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has revealed that 68% of UK adults have thrown food away in the past month.

Over two thirds (36%) said they have discarded food as it was past its use by date. Other top reasons for throwing food away include buying too much and not eating it (30%); and not having the chance to eat food before it went off (23%).

Kevin Hargin, head of Foodborne Disease Control at the FSA said: “Every year, we throw away seven million tonnes of food and drink from our homes. Much of this waste is unnecessary, and a better understanding of how to freeze food safely could go a significant way towards tackling the problem.

“Our research shows that many of the fears the public has about freezing food are unfounded and we need to ensure they know the facts. 31% of the people we spoke to said that more information about how to safely freeze food would help them to reduce their food waste – that’s why freezing is the focus of this year’s Food Safety Week”.

Councillor Matt Garrett, Chairperson of Belfast City Council’s People and Communities Committee said: “Lots of people believe food can only be frozen on the day of purchase, but the freezer is like a pause button and you can safely freeze most foods right up to the use by date. You can even defrost raw meat or fish, cook it and freeze it to eat on another day. We’re really keen to help reduce waste – so we want Belfast people to think about how they can use their freezers to their full potential, rather than putting food in the bin.”

“While food is kept safe in the freezer, it’s the quality that deteriorates over time, so the FSA recommends eating it within three to six months and checking for any freezing instructions on the packaging. Once defrosted, the pause button is off, so defrost food as and when you need it and eat it within 24 hours of it being fully defrosted. And don’t forget, if food has gone off, use your brown food waste caddy and council will be able to recycle the waste.”

For more information on freezing food safely, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/foodsafety You can also visit the Food Standards Agency Website at www.food.gov.uk/useby or follow @foodgov #EatitCookitFreezeit on Twitter for tips and advice throughout Food Safety Week.

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