“The Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association announced this week new voluntary standards with specific meaning. We tend to assume that any date on a package is the expiration date and indicates that’s when the product should be tossed, when that isn’t really the case. Millions of Americans are tossing perfectly good food in the trash because they think it’s not safe to eat after the date on the package, Dana Gunders of the Natural Resources Defense Council said about the new guidelines. This is a critical step toward clearing up the confusion and stopping all of that food, money, water and energy from going to waste. Assuming that all manufacturers follow the guidelines, these are the only labels you’ll see on your food:
Use By: This is a safety designation, and means that you should consume the item before that date.
Best if Used By: This is a quality designation, and means that the item will be fresher and taste better before the date, but won’t harm you after that date.
Between retailers and our own refrigerators and pantries, experts estimate that we throw away about one-third of our food supply.”