Simplifying Food Safety Labels for Consumers

Drew Neuville
November 1, 2019

As part of their Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact commitment the Kroger Co. is moving forward with their new initiative to standardize date labels for their Our Brands food products. The goal is to create simpler, easier-to-understand labels that include both product quality and food safety information.

Howard Popoola, Kroger’s vice president of corporate food technology and regulatory compliance, hopes the new date labels will ultimately help their customers. Popoola says many customers accidentally dispose of safe-to-eat food simply because the date label is confusing to read.

“As Kroger works to reduce food waste throughout our business and our communities, we are standardizing and simplifying Our Brands products’ date labels, providing clearer guidance to our customers.”

Kroger has focused on two main areas when creating date labels:

  • Each label must contain both a “Use By” date and a “Best If Used By” date
  • If a customer reads “use by” followed by a date, it indicates the deadline for when it is no longer safe to eat. This upholds food safety.
  • If a customer reads “best if used by” followed by a date, it indicates the deadline for guaranteed freshness but does not mean the product is unsafe to eat. This upholds food quality.

With the increasing focus on creating safe and traceable products, producers have to put a lot of thought into how they label their products as well as the technologies they use to ensure safety and traceability.

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