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AB-954 Food labeling: guidelines: quality and safety dates.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 05/04/2017 09:00 PM
AB954:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 04, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 27, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 954


Introduced by Assembly Member Chiu

February 16, 2017


An act to add Division 25 (commencing with Section 82000) to the Food and Agricultural Code, relating to food labeling.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 954, as amended, Chiu. Food labeling: guidelines: quality and safety dates.
Existing law provides that all food labeling regulations and any amendments to those regulations adopted pursuant to the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act shall be the food labeling regulations of this state, and authorizes the State Department of Public Health to adopt additional food labeling regulations.
This bill would require the Department of Food and Agriculture, in consultation with the State Department of Public Health, on or before July 1, 2018, to publish guidelines that promote the voluntary implementation of uniform standards for the use of quality date and safety date labels on food products, encourage food manufacturers, processors, and retailers responsible for the labeling of food products to voluntarily use uniform quality dates and safety dates on food product labels, including guidelines that encourage food manufacturers to adopt the adoption of certain quality and safety date terms.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Food is the single most prevalent item in California’s waste stream, with over 5.5 million tons of food dumped in landfills every year in the state.
(b) Four percent of the total energy budget, about 12 percent of the land, and 23 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States is used to grow food that goes uneaten.
(c) Discarded food is a drain on our economy, costing consumers and industry $162 billion each year nationally.
(d) Reducing food losses by just 15 percent would be equivalent to enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year. According to estimates, more than 6 million Californians, including one in four children, suffer from food insecurity.
(e) Sending uneaten food and other organic waste into landfills releases more than 8.3 million tons of greenhouse gases each year in California, contributing 20 percent of the state’s methane emissions.
(f) Misinterpretation of the date labels on foods is a key factor leading to food waste in American households, and surveys show that 56 to 90 percent of consumers discard some food prematurely as a result of misinterpreting food date labels.
(g) It is the public policy of this state that consumers benefit from uniform and accurate expiration date labeling.

SEC. 2.

 Division 25 (commencing with Section 82000) is added to the Food and Agricultural Code, to read:

DIVISION 25. Food Labeling

82000.
 For purposes of this division, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Quality date” means a date on a label affixed to the packaging or a container of food that communicates to consumers the date after which the food quality may begin to deteriorate but the food may still be acceptable for consumption.
(b) “Safety date” means a date on a label affixed to the packaging or container of food that communicates to consumers that the food should be consumed or frozen, if appropriate, by the date listed on the package that applies to perishable products with potential safety implications over time.

82001.
 (a) The Department of Food and Agriculture, in consultation with the State Department of Public Health, shall, on or before July 1, 2018, publish guidelines that promote the voluntary implementation of uniform standards for the use of encourage food manufacturers, processors, and retailers responsible for the labeling of food products to voluntarily use uniform quality date dates and safety date labels on food products. dates on food product labels.
(b) The guidelines adopted pursuant to subdivision (a) shall encourage food manufacturers manufacturers, processors, and retailers responsible for the labeling of food products to adopt the following terms:
(1) “Best “BEST if used Used by” or “best “BEST if used Used or frozen Frozen by” to indicate the quality date of a product.
(2) “Use “USE by” or “use “USE by or freeze Freeze by” to indicate the safety date of a product.
(c) The guidelines developed pursuant to subdivision (a) shall discourage the use of “sell-by” dates that are visible to the consumer or any date in the labeling of food that is intended to communicate primarily to a distributor or retailer for purposes of stock rotation that is not a quality date or a safety date.
(d) The department shall promote the guidelines developed pursuant to this section in the course of its existing interactions with food manufacturers. manufacturers, processors, and retailers.