Food safety is a concern to stakeholders in all sectors of the food system, from producers to retailers, restaurants workers, and consumers. Effective food safety practices are essential for the health of the general public, as well as the economic well-being and growth of Massachusetts food businesses. Yet there is a lack of food safety education programs and resources to adequately inform stakeholders, especially consumers, about relevant food safety information and practices.
A leading food safety concern is the general and widespread confusion about the meaning of product shelf life labels (e.g., “use before” and “best by” dates). This affects consumers, retail food workers, distributors, food banks, pantries, and meals programs. Similar uncertainty exists about the shelf life of frozen foods, as well as the definition of “perishable.”