Update on date labels

In All, Food Products, General by Keri Szejda

Back in December, we reported on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s new voluntary guidelines for date labeling. The guidance was aimed at reducing consumer confusion and subsequent food waste.

Specifically, the USDA suggested using the phrase, “Best if Used By,” because research showed that this more clearly communicates the real meaning of the date label – an indicator of quality, not food safety.

Last week, two major trade associations, the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, announced that they are encouraging retailers and manufacturers to begin using two date label phrases.

It won’t be an immediate change, but you can expect to see more date labels with the phrase, “Best if Used By,” or if there is indeed a possible safety concern after the date, you’ll see the phrase, “Use By”.