The labels on the foods you buy are about to start making more sense.
In an effort to cut down on confusion about labels on food items, grocery manufacturers and retailers are being urged to get rid of terms like “sell by” and “best before.”
A voluntary initiative led by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) encourages those in the food industry to get rid of the myriad date labels on consumer product packaging and instead adopt just two standard phrases: “BEST If Used By” and “USE By”.
“BEST If Used By” indicates product quality and the fact that a product may not taste as expected but is still safe to consume past a certain date, and “USE By” applies to products that are highly perishable and/or have a food safety concern over time, a statement released by the FMI and GMA explains.
The theory behind the new labels is that eliminating customer confusion over when a product is safe to use will lead to more products being consumed instead of being unnecessarily chucked out.
Grocery retailers and manufacturers are encouraged to immediately begin using these two phrases, with the hope of wide industry adoption by the summer of 2018.
This is welcome news for those who can’t quite make sense of what the language used on their food labels actually means. And with the coming changes to the FDA nutrition labels, consumer understanding of food choices may soon see an all-time high.