Lawmakers, grocers seek to streamline 'use by' food labels to cu - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Lawmakers, grocers seek to streamline 'use by' food labels to cut down on waste

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)

Food waste is a growing problem in the U.S. and lawmakers are hoping a change in food expiration date labels can change that.

Lawmakers, like Sen. Richard Blumenthal, said there is no law or regulation to make the lakes mean the same thing, so it generates confusion among shoppers.

He'll be meeting with experts and grocers on Thursday at Stew Leonard's in Newington.

Experts estimate 160 billion pounds of edible food ends up in the trash every year.

Blumenthal said the confusion is over wording like "best if used by" which doesn't necessarily mean the food has gone bad.

He said it's causing consumers to throw out food, which in turn drives up costs at the grocery store and fills up the dumps.

Blumenthal said part of the problem is that there's no uniform law, so labels can say anything like "use by," "sell by" or "expires on" and people don't really know what they mean.

That's why he's pushing to reform and streamline those labels.

Some shoppers who spoke to Eyewitness News on Thursday said it's not the labels that matter. They just make sure their food is fresh.

"Smell. If it smells bad, or foods have a certain color to them also," said Stanley Hall of Hartford. "If it's bad, you'll know."

The meeting with Blumenthal is set to begin at noon.

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