Too often, consumers misunderstand "sell" the labels on their perishable foods. Last year, the food business association started encouraging companies to reformulate "expiration dates" in clearer ways, those who would not propose to throw-in-this-out immediately, but rather the date of best use.
Now the Food and Drug Administration has issued a public letter to the food industry and joined the "best if used city" as the industry standard for dated packaging. (It breaks with the GMA at the point of the more declarative "use of", saying that it does not address this term for the time being "for safety reasons.") The FDA encourages the industry not only to change its policies but to push for consumer education when its food Really Pampered And How To Recognize It To Avoid Food Waste:
US Department of Agriculture (USDAs) The Economic Research Service estimates that 30 percent of the food is lost or wasted in the store and consumer level. This means that Americans throw out about $ 133 billion of food worth $ 161 billion each year.
While people understandably get nervous about the food, especially when it comes to foods that can cause potential health hazards, the FDA's guidelines are really just telling the public what has been true all the time. For many foods, the "sell for" date is hardly a final line and it is up to the consumer to recognize when the food is still good or not. Canned foods, for example, contain best-by-dates but they never go out.
The FDA also notes in the letter that a survey conducted last year found that "88% of those surveyed said the streamlined product date labels were ready for them and 85% said the streamlined product labels were useful." Getting through such a small change, it is difficult to see any disadvantages for manufacturers who have "best if used by" as a universal standard going forward.