UMD Researchers Seek to Reduce Food Waste and Establish the Science behind Date Labeling on Food Products


New study highlights the importance of interdisciplinary collaborations to reduce global food waste due to date labeling, a growing research trend.

Minimizing food waste is top of mind right now during the COVID-19 global pandemic, with the public concerned about the potential ramifications for our food supply chain. But even before COVID-19, given concerns about a rapidly growing population and hunger around the world, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) issued a global call for zero tolerance on food waste.

However, the lack of regulation, standardization, and general understanding of date labeling on food products (such as “best by” and “use by” dates) leads to billions of dollars per year in food waste in the United States alone. Many people don’t realize that date labels on food products (with the exception of infant formula) are entirely at the manufacturer’s discretion and are not supported by robust scientific evidence. To address this concern and combat global food waste, researchers at the University of Maryland have come together across departments in the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources with the goal of clarifying the science or lack thereof behind food date labels, highlighting the need for interdisciplinary research and global research trends in their new publication in Food Control.

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