It is estimated that British households throw out an average of 5 million potatoes, 4.4 million apples, a million loaves of bread and slices of ham per year.
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There’s a big difference between “product or code dating” from the manufacturer in an unopened package and “date marking” (as required by the 2013 FDA Food Code) in the restaurant once a perishable, ready-to-eat (RTE) food package is opened for use or prepared from scratch. “Open Dating” (use of a calendar date as opposed to a code) on a food product is a date stamped on a product’s package to help the store determine how long to display the product for sale. Except for infant formula and some baby food, product dating is not required by Federal regulations.
It can also help the purchaser to know the time limit to purchase or use the product at its best quality. However, if a calendar date is used, it must express both the month and day of the month (and the year, in the case of shelf-stable and frozen products).
In a restaurant at the receiving step or the retail food store as a consumer, “Sell by July 14” is a type of information you might find on a meat or poultry product. Does it mean the product will be unsafe to use after that date?