Food Safety News - Iowa State University Extension

Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Unnecessary Food Waste


Dana Gunders

Here’s a surprising little secret: You know all those dates you see on food products — sell by, use by, best before? Those dates do not indicate the safety of your food, and, generally speaking, they’re not regulated. If this is news to you, you’re not alone. In fact, according to one industry study, 90 percent of Americans at least occasionally throw food away prematurely because they mistakenly interpret the date label to mean that their food is unsafe. And 25 percent of them do so every time. In the U.K., they’ve estimated about 20 percent of food wasted in households is due to confusion over expiration dates. If this same estimate were true here, it would mean that the average household of four could be spending $275-450 on food that ends up being discarded even though it’s perfectly fine, just because they misinterpret the label date.

For the complete opinion piece, please visit

Read the whole story: Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Unnecessary Food Waste


View the current food safety news.

Food safety news is compiled from a number of sources and is provided only for informational purposes. Accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by Iowa State University. Headlines are sometimes rewritten for clarity or to fit space. Original sources are indicated whenever possible and full stories may not be posted to honor the original author copyright.