Diners taking advantage of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme may have been eating meat, fish and vegetables that are up to 18 months old.
The closure of restaurants and pubs during lockdown means the food industry is sitting on £20 million of excess produce.
But Government-approved changes to ‘best before’ labels now allow supermarkets to offload their leftover products.
Government-approved changes to ‘best before’ labels now allow excess produce to be sold. Frozen beef, chicken and lamb can last an additional 18 months, along with chips and most vegetables
Experts stress it is safe and lawful but want the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to publicise the move to diners.
Darren Goldney, of the wholesale group Unitas, said: ‘We don’t want this situation, but these are exceptional times and stocks are going to last another six months.’
Food that has exceeded its ‘use by’ date cannot be legally sold for health reasons.
Products with a ‘best before’ date can be eaten long afterwards as long as it has been stored correctly.
Frozen beef, chicken and lamb can last an additional 18 months, along with chips and most vegetables.
Frozen prawns and salmon steaks are also fine for another year.
Britons have eaten 35 million discounted meals under Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which sees half-price meals on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
James Bielby, chief executive of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, said: ‘If this food stock is good enough to go to charities, it is good enough for the rest of us.
‘Defra must take the lead in resolving this.’
Britons have eaten 35 million discounted meals under Mr Sunak’s scheme, which sees half-price meals on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Defra said it urged food businesses to do ‘all they can to work through the current stockpile of food and avoid waste’.
Champagne production has been slashed by 22 per cent this year as coronavirus kills demand for bubbles
By Jane Wharton for the Mail on Sunday
It promises to be a vintage year, but falling demand for champagne means much of the current crop will be left rotting on the vine.
Growers and producers have made the difficult decision to slash production by 22 per cent this year.
David Faivre, a champagne maker from the French village of Belval-sous-Chatillon, said: ‘Champagne is synonymous with partying. And the world isn’t doing that right now.’
The decision to slash production is even more painful because the grapes have good levels of sugar and acidity, promising a vintage year
Sales of the fizz were down 30 per cent in the first half of this year but have picked up a little since June.
About half of champagne sales take place in the last four months of the year.
To preserve the luxurious reputation of the drink, the cartel of growers and producers that decide on the annual harvest have agreed to a sharp cut so excess bottles are not left languishing.
This year there will be a maximum yield of 7,125lb of grapes per acre – the equivalent to 230 million bottles and the smallest yield for 35 years.
The decision is even more painful because the grapes have good levels of sugar and acidity, promising a vintage year.
Thibaut Le Mailloux, of the industry body Comite Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne, said: ‘We’ll always need champagne to celebrate. What’s not certain is the mood of consumers.’