PARAMUS, N.J. (PIX11) – Nobody likes to find expired food in their refrigerator.
“What the expiration date means, and what ‘use by’ means,” said Joanna Moreno of Rutherford. “It’s a little confusing.”
But for some, it can seem like freshness is a game of semantics. We see ‘use by,’ ‘enjoy by,’ and ‘sell by’ labels, just to name a few. Outside of baby formula, there is no federal regulation for how food dates should be labeled. Shoppers like Moreno would welcome some change.
“That would be fantastic,” said Moreno. “Less confusion for everyone.
Congressman Josh Jottheimer (D-NJ 5th District) announced Monday inside Stew Leonard’s in Paramus, N.J. he’s sponsoring bi-partisan legislation called the Food Date Labeling Act, which would create an easy-to-understand food date labeling system universal across the country, created by experts.
“The legislation will also allow the food to be sold on or donated after a ‘best if used by’ date, helping more perfectly good reach those who need it most,” said Gottheimer. “Let’s put some consistency behind this. Let’s have some standards.”
According to Feeding America, nearly 120 billion pounds of food go to waste each year, which takes its toll on stores, the environment, and those who are food insecure.
“Everything we do guarantees freshness,” said Barbara Bucknam, Freshologist for all seven Stew Leonard’s locations.
She performs checks and tests of all products that come into their stores and said labels need to be more clear.
“A lot of these dates are done by companies for freshness,” said Bucknam. “It’s not really a food safety thing.”
Many of us have the habit of simply looking at the date on the box, or sticker, or label and throwing it in the trash as soon as that date comes, even if the product seems perfectly fine.
Food experts said that’s a bad habit we need to work on. In fact, there are a lot of bad habits consumers can work on.
“You need to buy what you’re gonna use within a few days,” said Bucknam. “Make sure you handle it properly, also. You gotta get it into the coolers, you gotta make sure that it’s protected and covered and that you handle it properly.”