'Sell by' labels voluntarily narrowed by food industry

With the change, manufacturers are being encouraged to use labels that say

With the change, manufacturers are being encouraged to use labels that say "use by" for highly perishable products that could be a safety concern, or "better if used by" to indicate how fresh a product is and when it tastes best. (2/16/17)

FARMINGDALE - The Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute made a voluntary decision to narrow more than 10 different date labels on food products to just two.

With the change, manufacturers are being encouraged to use labels that say "use by" for highly perishable products that could be a safety concern, or "better if used by" to indicate how fresh a product is and when it tastes best.

For years, food advocates have pushed for the change because many people interpret date labels as a sign that their food is no longer good.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans throw away about 160 billion pounds of food each year.

Dietitian Larissa Grguric, with Nassau University Medical Center, says while many products are still safe to eat past their date label, consumers should stick closely to the expiration dates on perishable products like milk and meat.

The changes are set to take effect by summer 2018.

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