Nrdc the dating game

While not all of this is due to confusion, a casual survey of grocery store workers found that even employees themselves do not distinguish between different kinds of dates; * Mass Amounts of Wasted Food - The labeling system is one factor leading to an estimated 160 billion pounds of food trashed in the U. every year, making food waste the single largest contributor of solid waste in the nation's landfills.

Two main categories of labeling exist for manufacturers: those intended to communicate among businesses and those for consumers.

Americans throw away 40 percent of the food they buy, often because of misleading expiration dates that have nothing to do with safety, said a study released Wednesday by Harvard University Law School and the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. Emily Broad Leib, director of Harvard’s Food Law and Policy Clinic and co-author of the report, said a welter of state laws and voluntary labeling regimes came into being during the 1970s, after Congress failed to devise a uniform standard. “Consumers treat the dates as meaningful,” Broad Leib said, when in reality the labels may impart a false sense of security.

Leah Weinroth can only hope that her 11-year-old son Trey’s obsession with expiration dates is a passing phase. Clearer expiration dates on food cannot alone solve the problem.

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“They are just a manufacturer suggestion of peak quality.” Americans throw out billions of pounds of food every year because they falsely believe “sell-by” and “best-before” dates on package labels indicate food safety, researchers have found.

They are not meant to communicate with consumers, nor do they indicate the food is bad on that date.

"Best before" and "use by" dates are intended for consumers, but they are often just a manufacturer's estimate of a date after which food will no longer be at peak quality; not an accurate date of spoiling or an indication that food is unsafe.

"Phrases like 'sell by', 'use by', and 'best before' are poorly regulated, misinterpreted and leading to a false confidence in food safety.

It is time for a well-intended but wildly ineffective food date labeling system to get a makeover." NRDC and Harvard Law's study, The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste in America ( is a first-of-its-kind legal analysis of the tangle of loose federal and state laws related to date labels across all 50 states and presents recommendations for a new system for food date labeling.

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