Even in the food industry I have colleagues who are not microbiologists who get confused,” she says.(MORE: How to Stop the Superbugs) The report authors aren’t against food date labeling.You can read the full report and recommendations, here.In the meantime, for tips on what expiration dates really mean, see our examples, here.“We are fine with there being quality or freshness dates as long as it is clearly communicated to consumers, and they are educated about what that means,” says study co- author Emily Broad Leib, the director of Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic.
The report authors say the re-education could start with a clearer understanding of what the dates mean.Maybe Not) Because food dating was never about public health, there is no national regulation over the use of the dates, although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) technically have regulatory power over the misbranding of products.The only federally required and regulated food dating involves infant formula, since the nutrients in formula lose their potency as time goes on. “What’s resulted from [the FDA letting states come up with regulation] is really a patchwork of all sorts of different rules for different products and regulations around them,” says study co-author Dana Gunders, a staff scientist with the NRDC’s food and agriculture program.While it may not look appetizing, the food is still safe to eat.“It’s a confusing subject, the difference between food quality and food safety.While the food industry could make changes to date labels voluntarily — such as having the dates read when food is most likely to spoil — the study authors also call for legislation by Congress to develop national standards that would standardize a single set of dating requirements.Such standards may already be in the works; following the release of the report, Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland), the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee and author of the Freshness Disclosure Act says she will be reintroducing legislation to Congress that calls for establishing a consistent food dating system in the U. “I look forward to reintroducing this legislation this Congress and working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fix this glaring gap in our nation’s food safety laws so that American consumers have the information they need,” Lowey said in a statement.Much of it is perfectly good, edible food – worth 5 billion annually – and it gets tossed in the trash instead feeding someone who’s hungry.My colleague Dana Gunders has been exploring how, where, and why food gets wasted in America, from farm to store to table.Jena Roberts, vice president for business development at the food testing firm, National Food Lab, studies “shelf-stable” properties of foods to help manufacturers determine what date indicates when their products are at their best.“The food has to be safe, that’s a given,” says Roberts.