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SOURCE Institute of Food Technologists
CHICAGO, June 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Date labeling variations on food products contribute to confusion and misunderstanding in the marketplace regarding how the dates on labels relate to food quality and safety, according to a scientific review paper in the July issue of Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. This confusion and misunderstanding along with different regulatory date labeling frameworks, may detract from limited regulatory resources, cause financial loss, and contribute to significant food waste.
In the United States, the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA/ERS) estimated that in 2010 about 133 billion pounds of food, which is about a third (31 percent) of the 430 billion pounds of edible food available at the retail and consumer levels, was not eaten as a result of being wasted (Buzby and others 2014). This loss had an estimated $161.6 billion in retail value and 141 trillion calories per year (or 1249 calories per American per day).
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that the amount of food loss and waste on a global scale is about one-third of food produced for human consumption, which translates into 1.3 billion metric tons of food produced for human consumption (FAO 2011).
The authors of the scientific review call for collaboration to address the challenges that food manufacturers, retailers, government officials, consumers and other stakeholders face as a result of the current date labeling situation. More specifically, they called for the following actions:
Financial support for this scientific review paper was provided by Walmart. IFT also helped support the production of the article.
Read the full scientific review paper here.
View the food waste infographic here.
Editor's Note: Former Trader Joe's Company president Doug Rauch was the keynote speaker at the 2014 IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo where he shared his thoughts about how to feed the world, one healthy, sustainably sourced meal at time. Watch the video.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Institute of Food Technologists. Since its founding in 1939, IFT has been committed to advancing the science of food. Our non-profit scientific society--more than 18,000 members from more than 100 countries--brings together food scientists, technologists and related professions from academia, government and industry. For more information, please visit ift.org.
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