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“Hopefully, it will not only eliminate confusion from consumers but also reduce food waste. Too often, they’re throwing food away before it needs to be thrown away.” About 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten — a staggering waste of money and sustenance, valued at roughly 5 billion per year.The grocery industry initiative calls for replacing phrases like “best before,” “better if used by” or “enjoy by” with only two standard phrases to limit confusion.With regard to any other mandates, this bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs so mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.(d) Reducing food losses by just 15 percent would be equivalent to enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year.According to estimates, more than 6 million Californians, including one in four children, suffer from food insecurity.(e) Dumping uneaten food and other organic waste into landfills releases more than 8.3 million tons of greenhouse gases each year in California, contributing 20 percent of the state’s methane emissions.(f) Misinterpretation of the date labels on foods is a key factor leading to food waste in American households, and surveys show that 56 to 90 percent of consumers discard food prematurely as a result of misinterpreting food date labels.After reacting with oxygen and light, the fat in milk becomes rancid or stale.The distinct sour taste of aged milk is a byproduct of harmless lactic acid bacteria that feed on the sugar in milk.

Sixteen states prescribe by law the date on milk cartons, and some go a step further, regulating what happens to milk after that date.Montana requires milk to be thrown away 12 days after pasteurization, despite a lack of scientific evidence to support this practice.Sometimes, the date is prefaced by the words “use by” or “best before.” Sometimes it’s a “sell by” date. And the trouble with date labels extends beyond the dairy case and into the rest of the grocery store aisles.Recently, the Food Marketing Institute and Grocery Manufacturers Association announced they would voluntarily streamline date labels and begin using two standard phrases: “best if used by” for quality and “use by” for highly perishable items like meat, fish and cheese that can be dangerous to eat if they are too old.Food manufacturers will begin phasing in the change now, with widespread adoption expected by summer 2018.

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