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article imageFixing expiration dates on food labels will reduce food waste

By Karen Graham     Jun 5, 2016 in Food
Washington - The supermarket aisle is a complicated journey through a dense forest of "best by," "use by," "sell by," and other "bys." This confusing labeling system currently in use in the U.S. needs an overhaul, and for a number of reasons.
The Food Date Labeling Act, introduced by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Representative Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) was introduced to Congress on May 18, 2016. Currently, there are no federal standards on food labels, with the exception of baby formula.
Basically, the labeling act, if passed, would establish a uniform national date labeling system in order to reduce confusion, simplify regulatory compliance for companies, and reduce the waste of food and money, says Pingree in a press release.
The labeling act would require just two labels — one that indicates when food is at its highest quality, and another that indicates when the food is no longer safe to eat. That's it, two labels will give consumers what they need to know, saving an average of $1,500 a year for every American family.
Consumers across the Internet not only want transparency from food manufacturers on ingredients but want food labels that are consistent, showing when a food is at its peak freshness and when it may become unsafe.
“Consumers want transparency on labels more than anything else,” Dr. David Acheson, the former chief medical officer for both the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) told Food Safety News in May.
Better labels will reduce food waste
The biggest advantage to better, clearer labeling is the huge reduction to be seen in the amount of food thrown out in this country. We are talking about the 40 percent of edible food that goes uneaten and ends up being thrown away because of arbitrary dates on the packages.
According to one estimate, 160 billion pounds of food is thrown into landfills across the nation every year. But by creating a standard, and meaningful system for expiration dates, we could divert nearly 400,000 tons of food from landfills each year and save more than 1.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions and 192 billion gallons of water. That is quite a savings all the way around.
You can follow the H.R.5298 - Food Date Labeling Act of 2016 by going HERE.
More about Food labels, Expiration dates, Food waste, standardized labeling, Legislation
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