Nrdc report the dating game orthodox dating rules

WASHINGTON – Grocery manufacturers and retailers have aligned in an effort to adopt clearer messaging on product date labels to reduce consumer confusion and food waste.The new initiative is led by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the two major trade associations for retailers and consumer products manufacturing.With the current date labels on perishable foods packaging including phrases such as sell by, use by, expires on, best before, better if used by or best by, as well as other messaging, consumer confusion often leads to the discard of usable and safe products.With 40 percent of the food in America going uneaten, it’s clear that consumers are confused by the inconsistent date labeling verbiage and throwing food away prematurely.Today, the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released an authoritative analysis of US food date labeling.The report, "The Dating Game: How a confusing food date labeling system in the United States leads to food waste," was produced by lead author Emily Broad Leib, director of the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, with support from Dana Gunders, NRDC’s resident food waste expert, who wrote the definitive white paper on US food waste last year.Industry adoption of the voluntary standard will take time, so companies can be flexible in making changes that ensure the consistency of their products.The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic’s 2013 report, “The Dating Game: How Confusing Labels Land Billions of Pounds of Food in the Trash,” brought the food waste issue into the spotlight.

The “BEST if used by” speaks to product quality and describes when a product’s taste and performance may decline, but not that it is unsafe to use or consume.

In fact, nine states don't require date labels on any foods at all; others require labels only for specific foods (most commonly dairy, eggs and shellfish ).

My personal favorite is New Hampshire, which mandates date labeling only for cream and pre-wrapped sandwiches.

The exceptionally comprehensive report can be summarized as follows: the US food date labeling system is terrible.

Date labels are very poorly regulated, ill-defined and inconsistently applied.

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