Milk Dating

A British supermarket has a novel alternative to stamping a sell-by date on a milk carton.  I’m Amy E. Feldman.

British supermarket chain Morrisons announced that it will do away with the sell-by dates on milk cartons by the end of this month to prevent people from wasting perfectly good milk.  It suggests that to ensure the milk is still fresh, smell it.  If it smells bad, don’t drink it.  Huh.  Is that safe?  I don’t know, this isn’t the medical report.  It’s the legal report, so let’s discuss: is it legal?  

Yes.  Except for infant formula, product dating is not required by federal law.  For meat, poultry, and egg products, dates may be voluntarily applied as long as they’re not misleading, and next to the date must be a phrase explaining the meaning of that date, like “Best if Used By,” which indicates when a product is at best flavor, but doesn’t mean it’s unsafe if you use it after that date unless, as Morrisons has said, it smells funky, in which case you don’t need a lawyer or a doctor to tell you not to drink it.

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