A New Product Label Vocabulary

Product Labeling Infographic

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  • “BEST If Used By” or “BEST If Used or Freeze By” quality phrasing will indicate to consumers that after the specified date, the product may not taste or perform as expected but is safe to use or consume. For example, the quality of the product taste or texture may have diminished slightly or it may not have the full vitamin content indicated on the package.
  • “USE By” or “USE or Freeze By” safety phrasing will inform customers that these products should be consumed on or before the date listed on the package. The product should not be consumed after the date on the package due to the product’s perishable nature, and the product should be disposed of. This date label is for perishable products with potential safety implications or material degradation of critical performance, such as nutrition.
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For questions or more information, please contact FMI’s Vice President, Consumer/Communication Affairs and Communication, David Fikes.

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This new industry-wide effort is launched by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Food Marketing Institute as part of the Trading Partner Alliance (TPA) will help reduce consumer confusion over dates on the product label and potentially help consumers avoid unnecessary food waste. Broad industry adoption of this new voluntary standard will occur over time so companies have flexibility to make the changes in a way that ensures consistency across their product categories and doesn’t create unintentional food waste.