Blog Post

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued new guidance for food product labeling. The new guidance encourages food manufacturers and retailers to use a “Best If Used By” date label. This label helps reduce food waste as consumers have the least confusion associated with the label. The FSIS found “Best if Used By,” is most easily understood by consumers as it is associated with quality, rather than safety. Federal regulation does not require businesses to issue product labels, except for infant formula. Previously, businesses have used a variety of phrases, including “Use-by” and “Sell-by,” which confuses consumers and has led to the disposal of edible food. Foods with the “Best if Used By” label will help consumers identify foods that can still be used.

In addition, the FSIS issued Directive 7020.1, to enable more businesses to implement food donation programs. This issue helps businesses donate products with minor labeling errors to food banks.

RecyclingWorks produced Food Donation Guidance to assist businesses and institutions interested in establishing Food Donation programs. The Food Donation Guidance outlines the logistics, liability protections, and tax incentives for food service businesses interested in establishing a food donation program. RecyclingWorks worked with the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic to create legal fact sheets for Massachusetts including date labeling, tax incentives, and liability protections.

The RecyclingWorks Food Donation Guidance, Harvard Food Law and Policy Fact Sheets, and recent donation and product labeling updates by the FSIS are in support of the EPA and USDA national goal to reduce wasted food by 50% by 2030.

RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts assists businesses and institutions with recycling and food waste reduction through food donation and composting. To speak to a recycling expert, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at