Consumer confusion on food-date labels is leading to food waste

More studies are showing food labels are a point of confusion among consumers, and authors behind them say it is leading to food waste.

The report from Purdue University shows food date labels, like “Use By” and “Best If Used By” lead to the disposal of food that is still safe to eat. Out of the 1,200 surveyed consumers, more than half associate those terms with food safety, and 30 percent link the labels with quality. Right now, only baby formula labels require federal regulation.

However, a solution is in the works. Representatives Shelly Pingree and Dan Newhouse, along with Senator Richard Blumentha have filed the Food Date Labeling Act, which would standardize and clarify date labels. They say it would help streamline the language on those labels and give consumers a more clear direction between safety and quality.