The OU used to put DE next to the OU symbol when a product was Dairy Equipment. Such a product can not be eaten with meat but can be eaten right afterwards (you don't need to wait the amount of time that you normally wait between meat and dairy). Why did the OU stop this? Wouldn't it make everyone's lives a lot easier?
I found a couple of statements about this on ou.org:
"To avoid confusion, the OU has chosen not to use the D.E. categorization. We feel that many people will not be familiar with the ramifications of this halachic status." (from a 1992 article, here)
"The OU doesn’t recognize a DE or “Dairy Equipment” designation, and so all products made on dairy equipment are considered dairy and must be labeled D, even if all their ingredients are pareve." (from a 2002 newsletter, here)
So I guess at some point they changed their policies, but then decided to revert back to their original rules.
The OU (Webbe Rebbe) told me in an email that:
"If the ingredients list dairy items it is dairy otherwise you can assume that the product is 'only' made on equipment."
So although they stopped with the OU-DE, it seems that they assume that consumers can read ingredients and figure things out for themselves.
Was out shopping today and found OU-DE products in the store. Per the OU website they do have a DE designation that they currently use.