Changing expiration labels would help cut back food waste

Food waste is a hot topic quickly moving into the political mainstream, because it touches so many issues at once — the environment, hunger, household budgets and the overall economy. As it turns out, confusing date labels lead to Americans wasting as much as 40 percent of their food. With the exception of infant formula, none of these dates is federally regulated, and all are determined by the manufacturer. As a result, consumers regularly throw away expired, yet usually safe, food. Now, proposed legislation from California Assemblyman David Chiu aims to address the issue by changing one simple but crucial thing: the expiration dates on food. Chiu’s proposal would require manufacturers to give food one of two labels in California: “Best if used by” would indicate when a food will be at its best quality, and “expires on” would be used solely on highly perishable foods. The latter would signify the date that they should no longer be eaten.

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Changing expiration labels would help cut back food waste

Food waste is a hot topic quickly moving into the political mainstream, because it touches so many issues at once — the environment, hunger, household budgets and the overall economy. As it turns out, confusing date labels lead to Americans wasting as much as 40 percent of their food. With the exception of infant formula, none of these dates is federally regulated, and all are determined by the manufacturer. As a result, consumers regularly throw away expired, yet usually safe, food. Now, proposed legislation from California Assemblyman David Chiu aims to address the issue by changing one simple but crucial thing: the expiration dates on food. Chiu’s proposal would require manufacturers to give food one of two labels in California: “Best if used by” would indicate when a food will be at its best quality, and “expires on” would be used solely on highly perishable foods. The latter would signify the date that they should no longer be eaten.

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