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This Proposed Law Would Ban ‘Sell By’ Labels in California

Plus, this Chinatown hot pot restaurant sells a wheel of raw meat and more Bay Area food news

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Reminder, Please check expiration or best by dates prior to purchasing sign on refrigerator doors, CVS store, Queens, New York Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Lauren Saria is the editor of Eater SF and has been writing about food, drinks, and restaurants for more than a decade.

A California lawmaker hopes to ban “sell by” dates and other labels that can be confusing for grocery shoppers, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The proposed law comes from Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin, a Democrat who represents portions of Ventura County in Southern California, and would standardize the labels on grocery store items, which are currently covered by a “voluntary uniform-labeling system for packaging,” the Chronicle writes. The proposed law, which would take effect on January 1, 2025, in contrast, “would require specified terms to communicate quality dates and safety dates.”

This isn’t the first time lawmakers have tried to reign in food manufacturers’ labeling practices. A previously proposed law failed to make it out of committee in 2016, leading to the voluntary program that covers food labels now. But Irwin argues the opt-in program hasn’t worked; on a recent visit to a grocery store, she counted four types of labels “in the cheese aisle alone,” the Chronicle reports. Those labels varied from “enjoy by” to “best before” to “sell by,” the meaning of which can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Take a spin on a Ferris wheel of meat at this hot pot spot

SFist caught wind of the “spinning mini-Ferris wheel of raw meat” that’s available at Hotpot Champ, a Chinatown restaurant that opened in February. The menu item is exactly as it sounds: a tabletop wheel that comes loaded with various raw meats intended to be cooked by diners. It reportedly costs $50, a relatively small price to pay for all the Instagram likes it’s sure to yield.

This San Francisco bar is among the world’s 50 best

Congrats are in order for San Francisco’s own Pacific Cocktail Haven, which was named among the best bars in the world by World’s 50 Best at a live event in Mexico on May 4, per Bloomberg. The bar, which is owned by local bar star Kevin Diedrich, claimed the 28th spot and is known for a menu that uses ingredients from Asia and the Pacific — think calamansi-papaya cordial, coconut-washed Campari, and wasabi. PCH is the only Bay Area bar on the list, though Los Angeles bars Thunderbolt and Death & Co. Los Angeles also made the cut.

Add this show to your weekend watch list

The second season of Taste the Nation, hosted by Padma Lakshmi, is officially streaming on Hulu as of today, Friday, May 5. In an episode titled “Ube by the Bay,” the host visits the Bay Area to deep dive into the region’s Filipino dining scene. Local restaurants including Abacá in San Francisco and Señor Sisig, which has locations on both sides of the Bay Bridge, make appearances.