U.S. consumer waste 40% of food supply

Every year, 40% of the U.S. food supply goes to waste which equals $218 billion. One of the key factors of this waste is the public’s confusion over the various date labels on food products — “sell by,” “use by” and “expires on.” This confusion by consumers contributes to 90% of Americans prematurely disposing of perfectly safe food.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) have introduced the “Food Date Labeling Act” which will help reduce consumer confusion, simplify regulatory compliance for food companies, and cut supply-chain and consumer waste of food and money. The bill establishes a uniform national system for date labeling that distinguishes between foods that bear a label indicating peak quality from foods that bear a label indicating they may become unsafe to consumer past the date.

The bill ensures that food may be sold or donated after its quality date. Pingree says, “One of the most common arguments people seem to have at home is about whether or not food should be thrown out just because the date on the label has passed. It is time to settle that argument, end the confusion and stop throwing away perfectly good food.”

The legislation is supported by numerous food companies, consumer and hunger organizations. This issue received strong support for action at a recent House Agriculture Committee hearing.

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