Uniform labeling might deter good waste
Americans waste nearly one pound of food each day on average. Wasted food is wasted money and helps fill landfills. Economists at Ohio State University believe development of a uniform system of food labeling could curtail some of the garbage.
Research indicates that the top reasons for discarding food include concerns about food safety – odor, appearance and dates on labels. It seems that consumers are confused by terms such as “use by” and “best by” and assume that those labels are indicators of food safety. For products such as milk, even if the milk appears good and smells fine, consumers are more likely to dump the milk due to the “sell by” date on the jug.
The researchers suggest that the phrase “Best if used by” might be a better indicator of quality and taste and the label “use by” would be a date that would indicate when foods should be discarded. Standardizing these terms on food products could help consumers make better decisions about the safety of food products and avoid trashing foods that are still safe to eat.