CURRENT PRACTICES AND REGULATIONS REGARDING OPEN DATING OF FOOD PRODUCTS

A federally regulated open dating system on food products, instead of the current somewhat random and non-uniform state mandated system, would most likely benefit today's consumers, retailers, and government agencies. Consumers have indicated a strong desire for open dates; it would enhance their ability to make educated choices about the freshness of the foods they consume. A mandatory/uniform system would also assist retail grocers with stock rotation, so that customers can be provided with the best products available. Finally, federal open dating regulations across state borders would lessen burdens on interstate commerce. The potential benefits of this dating system outweigh the opposing points-of-view. The purpose of this research is to illustrate and discuss the current practices and regulations regarding open dating of food. Included in this study are the current federal and state regulations. Fifty-nine percent of the states (including the District of Columbia) currently mandate some sort of open dating on food products. The regulations vary on a state-by-state basis from mandatory dating of all perishable foods to open dating on a completely voluntary basis. While most consumers want to see open dates, educating them about what the dates mean is necessary but currently not being done. A major disadvantage of an open dating system is that it may be deceiving if the food is not properly handled, i.e. the date is based on some average storage condition. There are many modes of food deterioration, and most are dependent on a time- temperature interdependence. This research acknowledges that open dating of food is useful as a guide to the end of shelf-life, but its regulated implementation used in conjunction with time- temperature integrators is a more dependable indicator of freshness and safety for the consumer.


Issue Date:
1999
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
PURL Identifier:
http://purl.umn.edu/14318
Total Pages:
137
Series Statement:
Working Paper 99-01




 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-23

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