Standardized Food Date Label Could Help Reduce Food Waste

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Standardized Food Date Label Could Help Reduce Food Waste

Standardized Food Date Label Could Help Reduce Food Waste

We've known for a long time that some of those dates on food packaging leave consumers a bit confused.  Okay, there is a "sell by" date, but that doesn't provide much in terms of when the food should be eaten.  Maybe there is a "use by" date, but does that mean if it isn't used by or on that exact date, it should be tossed?  Thankfully the FDA has announced its support of the "best if used by" date, a new standardized food date label that could help reduce food waste and confusion among consumers.

 
The journal Waste Management recently published a study revealing that a large number of participants in the study "always" or "usually" disposed of foods near the dates on their labels, regardless of whether the food was really not safe to eat.  According to reports, the dates manufacturers include on packaging or labels are often not in regards to whether the food is safe to eat or not, but to indicate their own assessment of peak flavor/quality.  Consumers rarely assess the food inside the packaging to determine if it's safe to eat, such as considering appearance, smell, taste.  Instead, they rely on the dates manufacturers place on products when deciding whether food should be tossed.
 
The USDA and the Food Marketing Institute and Grocery Manufacturers Association have issued guidance for food labeling, recommending that manufacturers use either "best if used by" or "use by" depending on whether the product is perishable and should be eaten by the date specified on the package.  "Best if used by" would let the consumer know that if a food is consumed after the date, it is safe to consume but may not perform or taste as expected.
 
The FDA said that while the "best if used by" food date labels are not an exact science, it supports consistent date labeling that would not indicate the product's safety, but instead its optimal quality.
 
From dairy products, frozen foods and beverages to confectionery and more, Markem-Imaje provides industrial coding solutions for a wide array of substrates including paper-based containers, flexible packaging, liquid cartons, PP wrappers and more.  Count on us for innovative coding and marking systems, traceability solutions and supplies.

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