When we go to the grocery store, shopping list in hand, kids safely corralled in the cart, there are a few things we check. When we find the items on our shopping list (or the items our kids randomly hand us from store shelves and beg us to buy), we check the ingredients and nutrition information, especially if it’s a product that’s new to our shopping list. We also look to see when the item expires.
Wait. Hold on there. Did you know that the date stamped on the products at the grocery store is not actually an expiration date?
Let’s rephrase. We’re not checking to see when the item expires. We’re checking to see which date the manufacturer of the item has chosen to stamp on this particular product. The date itself is just a guideline (although many people think they are actual expiration dates), and it can mean several different things.
You have to look at the fine print. The date could have words near it that say best by, sell by, freeze by, or use by. The only product that is required to have an actual expiration date on it is baby formula.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, Americans throw away between 30% and 40% of the food they buy. Much of this food is probably thrown away because it wasn’t eaten before its sell by or use by date. It’s easy to assume that if you consume the item after the date on it that it could make you sick or be harmful for your health.
That’s not necessarily the case, and Scott Nash, owner of Mom’s Organic Market, has set out to prove that point. For a year, he and his family (yes, even his kids), consumed food that was well past the date on the package. We’re not talking like a day or two. In some cases, they ate food that was months past its best by, use by, or sell by date.
Watch the video below to hear why Nash decided to try eating food past its expiration date and to hear what the Food Marketing Institute wants to do to help consumers understand what the dates on food products really mean.
Did you know that the dates on food products are not expiration dates? Do you eat food that is past its sell by or use by date, or do you throw it away? Do you think the Food Marketing Institute’s idea would help Americans stop wasting so much food?