Food labeling can be confusing. Here's what you need to know to get the most out of your groceries. A survey from the National Resources Defense Council found that 90 percent of Americans toss out food prematurely. Much of this waste can be attributed to a confusing food dating system that is not federally regulated. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture USDA states on its website that, with the exception of infant formula, product dating is not required by Federal regulations.
State of Oregon: Keeping my Food Safe - Decoding Food Product Dates
Information about dates on pre-packaged food is a valuable source of information. Here are some terms you should be familiar with:. Durable life - This indicates the anticipated amount of time an unopened food product will keep its freshness, taste, nutritional value and other qualities when stored under appropriate conditions. A "best before" date tells you when the "durable life" period ends. Best before date - The "best before" date does not guarantee product safety, but it does give you information about the freshness and potential shelf-life of the unopened food you are buying.
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November 8th, by Len Shaw. Federal regulations regarding date code labels on food packaging are limited and state regulations vary widely. Generally speaking, manufacturers have a broad level of discretion for deciding when to include date labels on food packaging and what label terms to use.