Stating the expiration date for food in Bosnia and Herzegovina is prescribed in the identical way as in the countries of the European Union, with The Rules of providing notice to consumers about the food, according to which the date of minimum duration or the date of use (“use before”) of food is considered mandatory data which, in accordance with the regulations, must be provided to the end consumer.
Hereby, as the Director of Agency for Food Safety of BiH Džemil Hajrić said, it is important to distinguish between two kinds of stating the minimum duration on food declarations. The label “best before” implies that the food can be used after that date for some time if stored in accordance with guidelines on the package and if package is not damaged, but it might start losing taste and texture. Such labels are common on various frozen, dry, and canned food.
The label “use before” implies that the food is considered unsafe for consummation after that date. This label is common on perishable food such as fresh fish, fresh minced meat, etc. in this case, the consumer must strictly follow the guidelines for storing such food.
Hajrić added that, in accordance with regulations in The Rules of providing notice to customers about the food, the subjects working with food must not change the notices on the food if such changes could induce the end consumer to create a wrong opinion or in any other way decrease the level of safety of the consumer or consumer’s ability to choose food on the basis of notices. Subjects working with food are responsible for all possible changes in notices on the food.
Given the increased need for food on global level caused by the increase in the number of people in the world, and at the same time the large loss of food, in the past several years a public debate on possibilities of overcoming such situation is being led in scientific and expert circles, and increasingly in political ones as well. Thus Germany, with the aim of decreasing the amounts of food wasted in that country, considers to abolish the regulations that refer to the recommended shelf life.
“Until the possible finding of better solutions which will establish a different legal basis for solving the challenge of the loss of food in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the world, the Agency for Food Safety of BiH recommends the consumers to learn the meaning of labels ‘best before’ and ‘use before’, to buy food methodically, and to store it in adequate temperatures in order to extend its freshness and durability,” Hajrić said.
The primary task of the Agency for Food Safety of BiH is to protect the health and interests of consumers through ensuring health safety of food in accordance with valid regulations in BiH.