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Update to Labels May Curb Food Waste

by Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD on Apr 17, 2017

Food for Thought

Americans waste about 8 million pounds of food each year. What if we could easily reduce that—and put nearly $30 million back into people's pockets? Ditching expiration‐date labels on foods offers a promising start.

Millions of Americans throw away perfectly healthy and safe food because they confuse "use by," "sell by" and "best before" dates on products. Most foods are safe to eat well beyond these dates, which manufacturers use to tell us when products will taste the freshest.

There is nothing compelling companies to label most foods (though some states require labels on milk and meat). The Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute, two influential food industry groups, are asking manufacturers to use only two labels: a "best if used by" date, to indicate when food will taste the freshest; and a "use by" date for the few foods (such as sushi or some meats) that become less safe after a certain date. The changes are expected to be widely in effect by mid‐2018.

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About the Author

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD IDEA Author/Presenter

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD is a board-certified pediatrician, registered dietitian, and ACE Health Coach. She is committed to providing evidence-based nutrition and fitness information to health professionals and consumers alike in a way that is logical, practical and directly applicable to readers’ lives. She has authored over 100 publications and book chapters, all which are based on the latest scientific evidence and presented in a manner that is easy-to-understand and apply. She is Director of Healthcare Solutions for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) having written the nutrition chapters for each of ACE’s textbooks, the ACE Fitness Nutrition Manual and Specialty Certification, and recorded several Webinars and online courses. Furthermore, as a spokesperson for ACE, the largest fitness certifying and advocacy organization in the country, she informs broadcast and print media outlets throughout the U.S. on pertinent nutrition and fitness issues. She is author '"Eat Your Vegetables!" and other mistakes parents make: Redefining How to Raise Healthy Eaters'. She presented a similar topic at IDEA World 2009; the video is available for purchase through IDEA. Certifications: ACE, ACSM and NSCA