Group Pushes For Clearer Dates on Food Labels - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Group Pushes For Clearer Dates on Food Labels

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SALISBURY, Md. - If you've ever bought milk, then you're probably familiar with the date that's often stamped on the carton.  

But, if it's a "Sell By" date that's also found on many other grocery items, that label is contributing to tons of food waste.
    
"If it's due tomorrow to sell it by, I usually throw it away," Deangelo Contee said.

That's a habit nearly 90 percent of consumers have - trashing good food because of a misleading little number.

"If milk says it expires on the sixteenth, it's gone on the sixteenth, whether it smells bad or not," Angie Schilling said.

And that adds to the nearly 160 billion pounds of food wasted in America each year, according to the Natural Resources Defence Council.

Consumers often take the "Sell By" date to mean that's when food is set to go bad, when it's really just a retail date for stores.

Those "Use By" or Best By" dates are often an estimate of when food passes its peak, not when it spoils.

"You know I never really made a distinction between the two," Chase Waters said.

The natural Resources Defense Council wants to change the way the food labeling works to help consumers keep their food on the table, and out of the trash.

The group wants to make a clear, consumer-friendly system separating which dates deal with the food's quality, and which actually deal with safety.

"If they were to implement that, I think that would be a fantastic idea," Schilling said.

They also suggest getting rid of dates on non-perishable items, and creating a set of universal industry standards to help retailers set appropriate spoilage dates.
    
While you may be a little leery of using some dairy items beyond designated dates, experts say produce is often thrown out because it's a little bruised.

A good way to use them is cooking fruits for desserts before tossing them, it's creates a tasty way to prevent food waste.

To read the National Defense Regulatory Council's report, click here: http://www.nrdc.org/food/expiration-dates.asp

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