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Food dating regulations

Food Product Dating

Inconsistent policies and practices harm the interests of manufacturers and retailers by creating increased compliance burdens. This inconsistency also leads to considerable amounts of avoidable wasted food as the mistaken belief that past-date foods are unsuitable for consumption causes consumers to discard food prematurely.

Of the 41 states that require at least some foods to have date labels, 20 of them and the District of Columbia also restrict sales past the date. Because date labels are generally unrelated to food safety, restricting the donation or sale of past-date food means that some wholesome food that could have been sold or gone to those in need is unnecessarily wasted.

Use this tool to research current food waste policy at the federal and state levels and to discover best practices and recommendations for policy improvements that will support more food waste prevention, recovery, and recycling.


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No date label regulations. Date labels required for certain foods.

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No restrictions on sales after those dates. Regulations on sales after the date.

Explore Each State No date label regulations. No Regulations on sales after the date. You can buy and eat foods after the best-before date has passed. However, when this date has passed, the food may lose some of its freshness and flavour, or its texture may have changed. Some of its nutritional value may be lost.

For example, vitamin C content in juice. Best-before dates apply to unopened products only.


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  • Date Labelling on Pre-packaged Foods - Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
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  • Once opened, the food's shelf life may change. Foods that are likely to spoil should be properly stored , and they should be eaten as quickly as possible.

    Archived - Date Labelling on Pre-packaged Foods

    Harmful micro-organisms that lead to foodborne illness can grow in foods, even if they do not appear to be spoiled. Storing your food properly is one of the key things you can do to protect yourself and your family from foodborne illness.

    It's not you. Date labels on food make no sense.

    It is not illegal to sell a product if its best-before date has passed. Some of its nutritional value, such as vitamin C content, may also be lost. It is illegal to sell food that is unsafe.

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    It is the responsibility of food manufacturers, producers and retailers to ensure the food they produce and sell is safe. Any changes made to the best-before date or durable life information that result in false or misleading information on the label are prohibited by Section 5. Alternatively, a consumer may notify the retailer.

    You should report a concern to the CFIA if you want to lodge a complaint about a specific food product that you think does not meet regulatory requirements. This allows an inspector to begin an investigation that is in accordance with the CFIA 's inspection and compliance principles. Health Canada establishes regulations and standards relating to the safety and nutritional quality of food sold in Canada. Through inspection and enforcement activities, the CFIA is responsible for verifying that food sold in Canada meets Health Canada's requirements.

    This page has been archived. Information about dates on pre-packaged food is a valuable source of information for consumers. A basic understanding of what terms are used can help you to better understand these labels.

    Durable life means the anticipated amount of time that an unopened food product, when stored under appropriate conditions, will retain its: It is important to note that a best-before date is not the same as an expiration date. Packaging dates "Packaged on" dates are similar to "best-before" date but are used on retail-packed foods with a durable life date of 90 days or less, and must be accompanied by durable life information either on the label or on a poster next to the food.

    Expiration date An expiration date is not the same as a best-before date. Expiration dates must be used on the following products: Other date markings The Food and Drug Regulations state the terms "use by" and "employez avant" may replace "best before" for prepackaged fresh yeast only. Foods that will keep fresh for 90 days or less, and are packaged at a place other than the retail store , from which they are sold, must have the following on the label: Foods that will keep fresh for 90 days or less, and are packaged at the retail store , from which they are sold, may be labelled with either: Who determines the durable life?

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    It is the responsibility of the manufacturer or retailer to determine: The durable life of products or categories is not set out in regulations. Can best-before dates be on products with a shelf life greater than 90 days? How is a best-before date shown on a label? The month must be in both official languages or indicated by using specified bilingual symbols. December Is it safe to eat food that has passed the best-before date? Best-before dates are not indicators of food safety, neither before nor after the date.

    Can stores sell foods that are past the best-before dates? Can stores change the best-before dates on food?