The Food Marketing Institute and its members are applauding a letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that supports industry efforts to reduce consumer confusion on food product date labels.

“On behalf of FMI’s retail, wholesale and manufacturer members, we sincerely appreciate FDA’s recognition of the industry’s dedication to seeking solutions and mitigating consumer confusion in the marketplace regarding how best to navigate the myriad product code date labels on grocery shelves across the country,” FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said in a reply to the letter. “The agency’s endorsement signals a best practice in ways industry partners can truly deliver on a promise to provide guidance to our customers that is easier to understand.”

In 2017, members of the Food Marketing Institute and Grocery Manufacturers Association offered a nationwide voluntary initiative encouraging the adoption of standard date-label wording on packages that provides guidance concerning the quality and potential degradation of food products, which has implications for food waste reduction. 

“We appreciate FDA’s endorsement of the ‘Best if Used By’ date, a moniker of quality. We look forward to continued discussions with both FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding the small universe of food products that require a demarcation for food storage and safety.”