Did you know that government estimates indicate that Americans waste 40 percent of the overall food supply? And 90 percent of consumers throw food away based on the “sell by” date because they mistakenly believe the food is unsafe to eat? When actually, a “sell by” date is used as a tool for stock control, suggesting when a store should no longer sell products to ensure they still have a shelf life after consumers purchase them.
A large part of food waste is due to confusing and conflicting information around food date labels. In the absence of federal regulations, states have developed their date labeling requirements.
The Food Date Labeling Act has been reintroduced in the House and Senate to establish uniform quality and discard dates. In addition, the hope is that this bill will end consumer confusion around food date labeling and increase safe, edible food consumption and donation. If the bill passes, the U.S. will have two food date labels:
- “BEST IF USED BY” dates will communicate the food quality.
- “USE BY” will indicate the food is no longer safe to eat.
The legislation allows the sale or donation of food after its “best if used by” quality date.