Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Date labeling confusion contributes to food waste

Date:
June 23, 2014
Source:
Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)
Summary:
Date labeling variations on food products contribute to confusion and misunderstanding in the marketplace regarding how the dates on labels relate to food quality and safety, according to a scientific review paper. This confusion and misunderstanding along with different regulatory date labeling frameworks, may detract from limited regulatory resources, cause financial loss, and contribute to significant food waste.

Date labeling variations on food products contribute to confusion and misunderstanding in the marketplace regarding how the dates on labels relate to food quality and safety, according to a scientific review paper in the July issue of Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. This confusion and misunderstanding along with different regulatory date labeling frameworks, may detract from limited regulatory resources, cause financial loss, and contribute to significant food waste.

In the United States, the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA/ERS) estimated that in 2010 about 133 billion pounds of food, which is about a third (31 percent) of the 430 billion pounds of edible food available at the retail and consumer levels, was not eaten as a result of being wasted (Buzby and others 2014). This loss had an estimated $161.6 billion in retail value and 141 trillion calories per year (or 1249 calories per American per day).

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that the amount of food loss and waste on a global scale is about one-third of food produced for human consumption, which translates into 1.3 billion metric tons of food produced for human consumption (FAO 2011).

The authors of the scientific review call for collaboration to address the challenges that food manufacturers, retailers, government officials, consumers and other stakeholders face as a result of the current date labeling situation. More specifically, they called for the following actions:

  • Alignment among the food industry to develop a more consistent or single best practices date-marking system which takes into consideration on-package storage instructions. Uniformity is the first step to better inform and educate the consumer, and provide clear, simple direction on food quality and safety.
  • Revisit this issue among regulatory agencies. In some cases, U.S. and international regulators have devoted excessive resources and inspectional focus on food quality date labeling at the retail level. Quality-based date labeling is not a critical food safety issue; thus, resources could be shifted to ensure that regulatory efforts are focused around more significant health and safety risks rather than on labeling concerns that have to do with food quality.
  • Provide clear, simple consumer direction on food quality and safety. Data show that many consumers do not understand the difference between a "use by" and "best before" date, and the extent of food waste occurring within the household. Food waste behavior can be changed through education about the meaning of date labeling, the importance of temperature control and limited shelf life for some food products, food storage guidance, and safe handling methods.
  • Conduct more research to evaluate and further develop indicator technologies (e.g., time and temperature monitoring devices) that could provide information relating to food product quality or safety. Technology enhancement and improvements along the supply chain to monitor temperature and storage information could help better gauge true shelf life and reduce food waste, particularly with respect to fresh produce.

Financial support for this scientific review paper was provided by Walmart.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). "Date labeling confusion contributes to food waste." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623103931.htm>.
Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). (2014, June 23). Date labeling confusion contributes to food waste. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623103931.htm
Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). "Date labeling confusion contributes to food waste." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623103931.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins