Are you Contributing to Food Waste Due to Confusing Food Date Labels?
Are you contributing to food waste due to confusing food date labels?
Labels like “Guaranteed fresh”, “use by”, and “sell by” on our food from the grocery store can lead to confusion as to when foods truly expire and are no longer edible. A study done by Science Daily found that food is “likely to be thrown away too early, because people perceive labels as a deadline for the safety of their food”. The most common food to go to waste is chicken. No current laws exist that requires an expiration date on food, with the exception of baby formula and some baby foods. These labels are put there by manufacturers to guarantee optimal freshness.
Learn the Lingo:
Sell by date- this term simply tells the store how long they have to display a food item before the date expires and they need to pull the item from the self. They use this label to protect the quality of the item- sell by date is the last day the item is at its highest quality, but can still be edible for some time after depending on the food item.
Use by date- the last date recommended to use by for optimal quality and freshness, this is determined by the manufacturer of the product, not the store carrying it.
Guaranteed fresh date- this is typically used by bakery items and refers to the last date a food item is at its freshest. Once this date expires it does not mean the food is no longer edible.
Milk- typically okay to drink until a week after the “sell by” date. Always smell your milk after this date to make sure it has not spoiled.
Poultry and seafood- Cook or freeze within a day of two
Beef and pork- cook or freeze within 3-5 days
Perishable foods- if you freeze them promptly, it doesn’t matter if the date expires because food kept frozen CONTINUOUSLY are safe for up to 6 months.