As used in this section:
"Quality assurance period" means the period of time following the completion of normal manufacturing, processing, and packaging procedures during which a food product subjected to normal conditions of exposure will maintain conformity with all of the characteristics normally associated with the food product and will provide the benefits for which the food product is normally purchased. Food product characteristics include, but are not limited to, taste, texture, smell, nutritional value, and reaction value with other food products if used as an ingredient with other food products.
"Sale date" means the date by which the manufacturer, processor, or packager of a packaged food product recommends that the food product be sold for consumption based on the food product's quality assurance period.
(A) Except as provided in division (B) of this section, no person shall knowingly sell or offer to sell in this state any packaged perishable food product that has a quality assurance period of thirty days or less, unless the package is clearly marked by the packager with its sale date. The sale date shall be legible and understandable to the consumer. The director of agriculture shall make rules in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code establishing the manner in which the sale date shall be affixed to food products.
The director is authorized to investigate complaints, to determine whether the sale date for food products, as determined by the manufacturer, processor, or packager, is false or misleading to consumers. If the director finds, upon reasonable cause, that the sale date as determined by the manufacturer, processor, or packager, is false or misleading to the consumer, the director after reasonable notice and hearing, in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, shall establish the sale date for said product.
(B) The provisions of this section do not apply to fresh fruits and vegetables or to meat, including poultry, whether packaged or unpackaged, nor do they apply to packaged perishable food products when sold or offered for sale at any place of business where less than one hundred thousand dollars of all products were sold during the preceding year.
(C) To ensure that a uniform system of determining the useful product life of perishable food products for sale within the state is established, persons complying with this section and the rules established pursuant thereto are exempt from any local ordinances or rules pertaining to the quality assurance period of food products or the manner in which the quality assurance period and perishability of food products are to be disclosed.
Effective Date: 01-01-1977 .