Confusion over "date" labels on foods is a major culprit in creating food waste. Once a "sell by" date has passed, lots of us toss out food that's perfectly safe to eat. The typical U.S. family spends about $1,500 on food it then throws away. A new initiative aims to harmonize "use by" labels around the globe. The Consumer Goods Forum, a network of 400 of the largest food and consumer goods companies around the globe — including Walmart, Kellogg, Nestle, Campbell Soup, and Amazon — is asking retailers and food producers to take steps to simplify date labels. The forum is asking producers to use two standard phrases on food packages in the future:
- "BEST if Used By," which describes the quality of a food product. This term is meant to convey that "the product may not taste or perform" its best after the specified date, "but it is safe to use or consume," and
- "Use By," which applies to highly perishable products. It means the products should be consumed by the date listed on the package and disposed of after that date.
Source: NPR, 9/20/17, Food Labels