Wasting Food? It May Not Be Your Fault.

Food Expiration Label

According to the National Resources Defense Council, Americans throw away 40% of the food they buy. This disturbing reality amounts to the average family in the United States wasting over 2,000 dollars every year on groceries. Do you routinely haul uneaten food items to the dumpster? If you’re partaking in this common phenomena, you might not be to blame. If you’re like many others, the date stamps on the food items you purchase may be compelling you to toss them out before you get a chance to consume them.

When shopping at the supermarket store, you might notice three different types of date stamps on the food selections you place in your grocery cart. These common labels often appear as “sell by”, “best if used by”, and “use by”. A “sell by” date is applicable to retailers. This date alerts them when they should pull a product from the shelves. However, a “sell by” date doesn’t represent a specific time that a food becomes unsafe to eat. Instead, this label refers to the date when an item may no longer taste fresh. For instance, discount bakery stores often sell bread items after their “sell by” dates. While they might taste slightly stale, they are still edible. Like the “sell by” date, the “best if used by” stamp deals with the freshness of a food selection.

When checking the date stamp on a food item, never ignore a “use by” label. This label lists the last date the manufacturer of the food suggests you consume it. When you notice a “use by” date has passed, always err on the safe side and throw the food away. In addition to keeping up with the date stamps on your groceries, strive to store them properly. Keep containers, boxes, and bags of foods securely closed. And, refrigerate or freeze perishable products.


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