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Changes to expiration dates could save consumers billions of dollars each year

Expiration dates on items such as your dairy or meats will soon get a makeover.

It's labels like 'best before,' 'better if used by', 'sell by' or 'expires on', that's causing consumer confusion.

Quincy resident, Christine Scriven "I really look at not 'sell by' because then it confuses me that okay they want it out of the store by then but it's okay to eat after."

According to the Grocery Manufacturers Association it's that confusion that results in shoppers throwing safe and usable food away.

"So I usually look at the 'best buy' because then it's going to be okay, it's going to have the best quality by that date, if its after then I usually get rid of it," said Scriven.

Now at the Hy-Vee on Harrison, Jen Kamps says they always check out each isle to ensure products are not outdated.

"We know that quality is always going to be there for our consumers," Kamps said.

On packages of meat labels, it can say 'use by' or 'freeze by'.

Kamps explained, "If you're not going to get to it by the use by date put it in the freezer before that date and it extends its life so you're not throwing money down the drain by not getting to it in time."

By summer 2018 consumers should see only 2 phrases on their foods; 'Best if used by' and 'use by'.

The difference? 'Best if used by' will reflect a quality date.

The food might not taste as good but it's still digestible.

"I know milk there's the smell test, check and see if it smells good and then I'll go ahead and do a few days after especially if it hasn't even been opened."

"Use by" reflects a firm expiration date.

All foods after this date should be thrown out.

"Usually I try to make sure that they're good for the next couple months because if not they'll go stale, the chips will go stale before anything," Quincy resident Megan Orrill said.


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