USDA Issues New Date Label Recommendations

Americans waste a tremendous amount of food. As a whole, the nation throws away approximately $165 billion worth of perfectly good food each year, according to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The EPA estimates that this amounts to about 35 million tons, according to a report by CNBC, which costs the average household $2,000 annually

Reducing food waste is a top priority for the USDA, which seeks to save consumers money, reduce landfill use and prevent food prices from rising beyond what Americans can afford. One way the department plans to make a difference is by releasing new guidelines for product date labels.

"Reducing food waste is a top priority for the USDA."

The USDA believes that the common usage of the phrases "sell by" or "use by" can be confusing, leading shoppers to throw out food that is often still edible. Instead, The Associated Press reports that the department will recommend that producers use the term "best if used by," as this particular phrase appears to be best understood by consumers.

Currently, there aren't consistent regulations governing the application of date labels on most food and beverage products, though this may change. The Associated Press reports that Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-ME, plans to re-introduce the Food Date Labeling Act in the upcoming session, which will create a national date labeling system.

As government regulations and recommendations over food and beverage labeling are always changing, producers should avoid relying on pre-printed labeling stock. Custom labeling may be a better option. Durafast offers a number of different printing solutions to help you develop the labels you adjust to new rules and customer demands. Contact us today for more information!

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