FDA Urges U.S. Food Industry to Use the Phrase 'Best If Used by' on Packaged Food Items to Reduce WastageMay 27, 2019 13:58
The United States Food and Drug Administration is urging the food industry to use the terms “Best if Used by” on packaged food to counter the food wastage.
The label will point about food quality and not safety. To deal with the public confusion about how long a consumer can use a grocery item the FDA is looking to standardize one phrase.
Most products have descriptions like 'use by', 'sell by', 'freeze by', 'best before' and 'expires on' written on it which leaves the public unclear about the safety of the products. Thus people end up throwing out still good food items, which are still safe to consume.
Data suggests that Americans toss out about $161 billion worth of food each year, meaning about one-third of all food produced in the United States is wasted or lost. So in order to tackle the waste, the FDA sent a letter to the food industry to fix on 'best if used by' on packaged food labels.
A consumer research was carried out by the FDA to find out the best phrase that will communicate the message. This phrase essentially means, that the product is still good and can be consumed after the said date. The point is about its quality. It will not be too bad but can be used. If stored well, it can be used for a long time.
Frank Yiannas, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's deputy commissioner said, "We expect that over time, the number of various date labels will be reduced as industry aligns on this 'Best if Used By' terminology. This change is already being adopted by many food producers."
According to regulators, this move will help in reducing the misunderstanding and also help in controlling about 20 percent of food waste. So several companies have been asked to follow the new guidance and some of them have already embraced it. It applies to all shelf-stable, packaged foods.
The federal government wants to reduce the food wastage by 50 percent in the next decade.
By Sowmya Sangam