Summary: AB 954 is an important next step in addressing confusing food date labels. AB 954 requires the California Department of Food & Agriculture to promote the widespread use of uniform phrases with meaning, "BEST if Used by" or "BEST if Used of Frozen by" to indicate freshness date labels, and "Use by" or "Use or Freeze by" to indicate safety date labels. 

Position & Status: CAW is the sponsor of the bill.

  • Introduced February 16th, 2017
  • Passed the Assembly Natural Resources committee April 25th, 2017
  • Passed Assembly Appropriations committee May 26th, 2017
  • Passed Assembly Floor vote (76-0) May 30, 2017
  • Passed Senate Agriculture committee June 20th, 2017
  • Passed Senate Health committee July 5th, 2017
  • Passed Senate Appropriations committee September 1st, 2017
  • Passed Senate Floor Vote (33-6) September 11, 2017
  • Passed Assembly Concurrence Vote September 13th, 2017
  • Signed into law on October 15th, 2017. Read the Press Release.

Description: Confusing, misleading, and cryptic food labels lead many consumers and stores to throw out perfectly healthy food every day. Date labels on food come in a dizzying variety of forms including “use by,” “best before,” “sell by,” and “enjoy by” dates, yet these simple markers are both poorly understood and surprisingly under-regulated, such that their meanings and time frames are generally not defined. AB 954 will continue to address this issue while also considering the status of industry efforts, which have moved quickly since the introduction of AB 2725 in the last legislative session. The phrases that CDFA will be required to promote are the exact phrases currently being adopted by two major trade associations. With California also promoting a more widespread use of these uniform food date labels, we will see the standardization of food date labels much sooner. The bill also includes a provision which allows CDFA to accept non-state funds for consumer education of the meaning of date labels in order to reduce consumer confusion and food waste.

Contact: Melissa Romero, (916) 443-5422

Read the Fact Sheet

Contact Assemblymember David Chiu

Current Language, Analysis, and Votes


Californians Against Waste (Sponsor)
California Association of Local Conservation Corps
California Compost Coalition
Castro Valley Sanitary District
Clean Water Action
Environmental Working Group
Food Finders
Food Forward
Friends of the Earth
Green Long Beach
Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic
Kiss the Ground
Los Angeles Food Policy Council
Marin Sanitary Service
Meet Each Need with Dignity
Napa Recycling & Waste Services
Natural Resources Defense Council
Northern California Recycling Association
Pesticide Action Network
Solid Waste Association of North America
St. Francis Center
Stop Waste
Sustain LA
Urban and Environmental Policy Institute