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Sunday
Jun162019

FDA - Most Date Labels Are Not Based On Exact Science

Most Date Labels Are Not Based on Exact Science

Visit the Food and Drug Administration web page for more info.

Manufacturers generally apply date labels at their own discretion and for a variety of reasons. The most common is to inform consumers and retailers of the date up to which they can expect the food to retain its desired quality and flavor. The key exception to this general rule is for infant formula products. These products are required to bear a “Use By” date, up to which the manufacturer has confirmed that the product contains no less than a minimum amount of each nutrient identified on the product label, and that the product will be of an acceptable quality.

Date labels are generally not required on packaged foods. While manufacturers are prohibited from placing false or misleading information on a label, they are not required to obtain agency approval of the voluntary quality-based date labels they use or specify how they arrived at the date they’ve applied.

According to Kevin Smith, Senior Advisor for Food Safety in the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the “Best if Used By” labels you see on packaged foods relate to the quality of the product, but that predicting when a food will no longer be of adequate quality for consumption is not an exact science.

Smith advises consumers to routinely examine foods in their kitchen cabinets or pantry that are past their “Best if Used By” date to determine if the quality is sufficient for use. If the products have changed noticeably in color, consistency or texture, consumers may want to avoid eating them.

Additionally, there are resources available online for consumers with questions about how long to keep perishable foods, including meat, seafood and dairy products:

 

Reader Comments (1)

Very rarely do I pay attention to “use by” date or “expiration” dates. From now on I intend to keep a closer eye on these dates, particularly when it comes to milk.
Sun, June 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph Weiss

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