H.R.3981: Food Date Labeling Act of 2019


Food Date Labeling Act (H.R. 3981) would standardize food date labels and curb rampant food waste in the United States. With the exception of infant formula, there are no uniform federal standards for date labels. In the absence of federal law, states have enacted a patchwork of date label laws, resulting in perfectly good food being thrown out by misinformed consumers. This bill would establish a dual label system reducing the available labeling language to two phrases: one quality date indicator and one safety date indicator­. The legislation would allow manufacturers to include a date indicating a food product’s quality, as long as the date is indicated by the standard phrase “best if used by.” Because quality is subjective, the use of a quality date would be optional. Under the legislation, a safety date, indicated by the standard language “expires on,” would be required on a small group of foods identified by the FDA and USDA as being those that could become less safe after the date. The bill also would provide for educating consumers about the meaning of new labels so that they can make better economic and safety decisions.

S. 2337 is the Senate companion bill.


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Talking Points

  • According to a June report by the Government Accountability Office, between 30 and 40 percent of all food produced in the United States is wasted, with estimates as high as $218 billion spent every year on food that’s uneaten.
  • With so many families living with food insecurity Congress should take action to end food waste.

Our Stance




Bill Number


Date Introduced

July 25, 2019


House Agriculture Committee

Bill Status

Introduced or Prefiled