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  • NJ A4633
  • Establishes standards for food date labeling; requires Commissioner of Health to establish public education program and promulgate guidelines related to food safety.
Introduced
(2/27/2017)
In Committee
(2/27/2017)
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill standardizes food date labels, and requires the Department of Health to create a public education program on food date labeling and establish guidelines related to food safety. This bill is based on a report by the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic entitled, "Keeping Food Out of the Landfill: Policy Ideas for States and Localities." Confusing and misleading food date labels contribute to the enormous waste of food. There is currently no Statewide regulation of food date labeling in New Jersey; only milk and milk products, dairy, and certain shellfish are regulated. This bill standardizes food date labels for all food products by regulating the labels that may be used by a manufacturer. Under the bill, a manufacturer may indicate either: 1) a "quality date" label to indicate the date after which the quality of a food product may begin to deteriorate, but is still acceptable for consumption; or 2) an "elevated-risk date" to indicate the date, established by the manufacturer, after which there is a high level of risk associated with the consumption of a food product. In addition, the bill provides that a "time/temperature control for safety food" is a food that requires time/temperature control for safety, in accordance with the 2013 United States Food and Drug Administration Food Code, to limit pathogenic microorganism growth or toxin formation. The bill requires the Department of Health to determine which additional foods are to be designated a time/temperature control for safety food and which foods are to be exempt from this designation. The department is to post this information on its Internet website. The public education program to be established under the bill is to include a public information campaign disseminating information about the meaning of date labels, and educating consumers on how to handle food properly and when it can safely be consumed. An estimated 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten, leading to 160 billion pounds of food wasted each year. The ethical, financial, and environmental repercussions of this alarming rate of wasted food are substantial. Studies indicate that in 2011, approximately 15 percent of households in the United States, at some point, lacked reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. It has been estimated that redistributing just 30 percent of the food wasted in the United States could feed every food-insecure American their entire diet. Our environment is adversely affected when food is wasted, as all of the resources used to produce, store, transport, and handle that food are also wasted. These resources include arable land, labor, energy, water, chemicals, and oil. One study estimates that food waste costs the average American family of four between $1,300 and $2,200 per year.
Law and Public Safety
Introduced, Referred to Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee  (on 2/27/2017)
 
 

Date Chamber Action Description
2/27/2017 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
None specified