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New Changes to Sell-By Dates on Packaged Food

By Fredrica Syren:

Some much needed changes are coming to packaged foods sold in grocery stores. Two major influential trade groups in the food industry, the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, are lobbying for changes to 10 different food labels that include “sell by” to “use by,” “expires on” and “best before. ” The hope is that food manufacturers will instead use adopted standardized, voluntary regulations — only two expiration date labels, “used by” and “best by.” This hopefully will clear up things for consumers and help them understand when exactly they need to throw away their food.

The new label “Best If Used By” date signals when the product might not taste as good but is still safe to eat or drink. The label “USE By” indicates by when you should consume the product or throw it away for health and safety reasons.

Current food labels have caused 40 years of confusion. They have caused consumers, thinking food is inedible, to prematurely toss lots of food, causing lots of food waste as a result. This food waste takes a significant amount of landfill space, and is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. As I said, so far the labels are just voluntary, not required by federal law, but trade groups and environmental advocacy groups are hoping food manufacturers will adopt the labels by 2018 to combat food waste.

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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