Council advice on freezing food given to residents has been labelled ‘patronising’ by the Tory opposition.
Earlier this month the Labour-controlled Crawley Borough Council issued a press release about the Government’s ‘freezer fairy’, which provides advice on how to effectively use freezers to plan meals and make food last longer to avoid waste especially over the festive period.
Councillor Duncan Crow (Con, Furnace Green), leader of the Conservative group, described it as an example of the council ‘treating Crawley’s adults like children’.
But Councillor Geraint Thomas (Lab, Northgate), cabinet member for environmental services, pointed out that when the Tories controlled the council they had issued an ‘almost identical release’ in 2012.
Cllr Thomas said: “It is curious that Conservative councillor Duncan Crow should choose to criticise the borough council for issuing a press release based on seasonal food advice from a central government department – the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
“Even more so as in June 2012, when the Conservatives were in control of the borough council, they issued an almost identical FSA press release.”
The recent release include tips such as informing residents they can freeze cooked meats and meals, urging them to plan their Christmas meal before heading to the shops to avoid buying too much, as well as labelling an foods placed in the freezer and placing them in airtight containers, bags, or clingfilm.
Meanwhile the press release issued when the Tories controlled the council in 2012 invited residents to get tips and advice from environmental health experts on how to reduce food waste and eat safely.
Cllr Crow said: “The council ‘informing’ Crawley’s residents that they can freeze cooked food in the freezer is very patronising.
“This isn’t the first time they have done this. I am all for reducing food waste which is why I don’t buy and cook too much food in the first place, but going on about ‘freezer fairies’ is Crawley Borough Council treating Crawley’s adults like children and is an example of the nanny state.”
Kevin Hargin at the FSA, added: “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.
“That’s why we are making freezing the focus this Christmas and demonstrating, with the help of our festive FSA Freezer Fairy, that proper use of the freezer can help take some stress out of Christmas cooking and reduce food waste.
“By planning ahead you could get the bulk of your Christmas cooking done weeks in advance and store the food in the freezer.
“The freezer is like a pause button, so you can freeze foods right up to the ‘use by’ date. While food is kept safe in the freezer, it’s the quality that deteriorates over time, so we recommend 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.”
Government advice can be viewed at www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/campaigns/freezer-fairy
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