Best Food Safety Practices to Avoid Food Labeling Confusion

Mislabeling or not labeling food in restaurants may seem like a minor oversight, but it can lead to major food safety failures. During a study on risk factors contributing to foodborne illnesses, the Food and Drug Administration found date marking out-of-compliance as high as 81 percent within restaurants and other food storage facilities.*

Don’t allow your restaurant to be part of the problem. (And get ahead of the next health inspection by downloading our free Health Inspection Guide.)

Date marking should be a common practice at your restaurant for foods that are ready to eat, refrigerated or being held for more than 24 hours. Train your staff to correctly label food by using the following best practices:

  • Label food with “Best if Used By (or Before)” date recommendation for best flavor or quality.

  • Include the “Use-By” date set by the manufacturer as the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality.

  • Practice “First In, First Out” (FIFO) as a general rule, and discard any food that has gone beyond seven days.

And remember, when in doubt about the expiration date, the rule is to always throw it out.

For more ways to encourage your staff to improve food safety, watch our 5 Common Food Safety Mistakes video and download the resource. Check out our free Health Inspection Guide, too.

*Food and Drug Administration; FDA Report on the Occurrence of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors in Selected Institutional Foodservice, Restaurant, and Retail Food Store Facility Types; 2009


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