Do you check the “sell by” date on the things you buy at the grocery store? Soon, you may be checking the “best if used by” date instead. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that foods should be labeled with “best if used by”. The change could reduce food waste.
The FDA found that consumers have some confusion over the labels on products such as “best if used by”, “use by” and “sell by”. A 2007 survey of U.S. consumers found that less than half of the people who participated in it were able to distinguish the meanings between the three different product labels.
This confusion can lead to food waste. You’ve probably thrown out food that might be past the date on the label just in case it had gone bad. The FDA found that food waste by consumers may often be caused by fears about food safety due to misunderstanding the labels on the product. The confusing labeling accounts for approximately 20 percent of consumer food waste.
Both the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute have instituted a voluntary initiative to streamline the date labels on packaged foods. Get ready to see the “best if used by” label on more food packages!
The “best if used by” label means exactly what it says. The food inside that package is best if you use it by the date on the label. It does not mean that the food goes bad after that date. In some cases, the food might become a bit stale – but will still be safe to eat.
One way to save money on groceries is to make sure that you use them up before they spoil. You might have used a coupon or loyalty card discount to lower your grocery bill. If you had to throw the food away, then you wasted your money.