As a result, there are a wide variety of phrases used on labels to describe quality dates. One source of food waste arises from consumers or retailers throwing away wholesome food because of confusion about the meaning of dates displayed on the label.To reduce consumer confusion and wasted food, FSIS recommends that food manufacturers and retailers that apply product dating use a "Best if Used By" date.Manufacturers and retailers will consider these factors when determining the date for which the product will be of best quality.
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Here is some background information answering these and other questions about product dating. Two types of product dating may be shown on a product label.
"Open Dating" is a calendar date applied to a food product by the manufacturer or retailer.
In the case of shelf-stable and frozen products, the year must also be displayed.
Additionally, immediately adjacent to the date must be a phrase explaining the meaning of that date such as "Best if Used By." [Top of Page] Are Dates for Food Safety or Quality?