We waste a lot of food because of those "Sell By" dates on the packaging. Once you're past that date, you wonder if you'll DIE if you eat it. So, just to be safe, you throw it out. But it looks like things are about to become much less confusing.
The two biggest trade groups in the grocery industry are the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association and last week, they changed their guidelines to get rid of "Sell By" dates. They want to standardize it by only using the terms, "Use By" or "Best If Used By."
The term "Best If Used By" is what they'll use for most stuff that isn't dangerous to eat after that date but may lose quality over time. "Use By" will only be for stuff that might make you sick if you wait too long to eat it, like dairy, beef and poultry.
There's no law on the books about all this, so companies can keep using "Sell By" dates if they want to. However, it sounds like most of them are on board, and should start following the new guidelines soon.