Why the ‘sell by’ and ‘best before’ food labels might be disappearing

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Scrounging together dinner. This question regularly comes up for me. When did I buy this can of corn? To see if it’s still good look’s label. But that’s where it gets really confusing. Best by September of 2016. Best by? But has it gone bad? Can I still eat it? Reporter: There are ten separate phrases for date labeling and sometimes just the date itself. It’s very confusing for the consumer because a package may have multiple dates that are conflicting. It doesn’t give the consumer a very clear idea about when they’re actually supposed to eat the product. Reporter: So now the new guideline, no major food associations are encouraging retailers and manufacturers to make the switch to only two by summer of 2018, best if used by and use by. Best it used by describing product quality, where the product may not taste or perform as expected but is safe to use or consume. And use by applying to highly perishable products or those with a food safety concern over time. I think the new initiative that simplifies all the dates will be really, really helpful and cut down on food waste. It’s so streamlined and much easier to follow. And hopefully lets always scrounge a meal out of the pantry with confidence and throw less food in the trash. Becky Worley, ABC news, Oakland, California. All right.

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