The Cruciality Food Expiration Unification
A recent study conducted between the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic showed that food waste in America is exacerbated by the problematic expiration date system. The current expiration date system is incredibly confusing and misleading for consumers and grocery store workers alike.
The study showed that up to 90% of Americans are throwing away food due to misinterpreting food labels. Every package has expiration date labels on it, but the various messages can be difficult to understand. Every package has a sticker with a label that either says “use by,” “sell by,” and “best before.” The problem is that the average person is puzzled by what these all mean.
The most misleading sticker is the “sell by” date. It’s often misinterpreted to mean that the food is expiring and needs to be thrown in the trash. This sticker is actually meant for grocery store workers so that they know when to remove items from the shelf. The report showed that Americans are wasting an incredible amount of food due to these labels. It’s estimated that over 40% of America’s food supply is thrown in the trash can every year.
The dates that consumers should pay attention to are the ones labeled “use by” and “best before.” Due to the widespread confusion in the expiration date system, it’s critical for the system to receive a complete overhaul. Once the system is unified and clearer to consumers, the country’s waste will reduce significantly.
Guest post is provided by Food Trade Consultants, a leading food business consulting company that helps people succeed in the food industry. Check out the foodtradeconsultants website for more information.