Legislation Introduced to Set Standard for "Use By" Food Labeling
May 27, 2016

Your cheese says "best by." Your milk says "use by." Those cookies? "Enjoy before." It's "sell by" for the salsa, and "best before" for the butter. "Born on" for beer and "guaranteed fresh" for bread. These imprecise directives, which are designed to tell consumers by when they should finish their foodstuffs, could soon be nearing their expiration date.

Legislation announced May 25 by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (Maine) aims to put an end to consumer uncertainty about whether or not their food is safe to eat.

With the Food Date Labeling Act, they have proposed standardized language for retail packaging: "Best if used by" to indicate peak quality for shelf-stable foods, and "expires on" for riskier foods like raw meat, fish and eggs.

According to food policy advocates, the changes will save millions of tons of food from going needlessly into the garbage.

Reprinted in part from NorthernAg.net