Food Expiration Dates May Be Misleading

How many times have you looked at the expiration date on a container of milk and threw it away, even if it didn’t smell rancid?  Well, a new Harvard study found that 9 out of 10 Americans needlessly throw away food, translating into $165 billion dollars of wasted food annually.

Food expiration dates (sell by, use by, best before) do not necessarily indicate spoilage or the safety of food.  In fact, the dates actually are manufacturer opinions about peak quality and freshness, not spoilage.  Currently, the US food expiration date policy is not standardized or clarified, causing senseless waste of perfectly good food.  There is a wide range of methods by which the date on food is determined, and consumers cannot rely on the dates to consistently have the same meaning.

This lack of regulation leads to wasted food and to wasted money.  Hopefully the food industry and our government will begin making changes sooner rather than later.

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