There was no consistency in how this information was displayed or the language that was used.

The average American wastes somewhere between 20-25% of the food they acquire.

The EPA and USDA recently announced a goal to cut food waste in the U. in half by 2030, and having a better date labeling system is one way to get there.

Date labels of course, aren’t just on milk, they’re on a lot of products.

Forty-one states require a date label on at least some food product but there are huge inconsistencies, not just in the wording, but in the meaning of these labels.

And as is still true now, There were no clear definitions for any of the phrases and no consistency even within the same brand or product.

Dates could differ from state-to-state, manufacturer-to-manufacturer, or store-to-store.

Some states require them only on dairy, some on shellfish, some on any perishable foods.

It’s become complicated to decipher these dates, or to know how to act on them, for large retailers and individual consumers alike.

And despite what many people assume, they are not about food safety, and were actually never meant to be. Americans had moved further away from their food sources and were eating more packaged foods and getting more of their food in supermarkets.

Consumers wanted a way to measure how fresh their food was.

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