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The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) said yesterday that their two constituencies have joined together "in a new industry-wide effort to reduce consumer confusion about product date labels," adopting "standard wording on packaging about the quality and safety of products."

The announcement says that from now on, products will be labeled as either "best if used by" or "use by," which industry hopes will reduce confusion since the move replaced the more than 10 different phrases currently used by companies.

“BEST If Used By," the organizations say, "describes product quality, where the product may not taste or perform as expected but is safe to use or consume. 'USE By' applies to the few products that are highly perishable and/or have a food safety concern over time; these products should be consumed by the date listed on the package – and disposed of after that date."

"We want to encourage a consistent vocabulary so that our customers clearly understand they are purchasing products that are of the highest quality and safety possible,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, FMI president/CEO.
KC's View:
Good job. I'm glad that the industry did this rather than waiting for government to impose its own will - it always makes sense to get ahead of the wave on such things, especially when you make consumers' lives easier.