Who else is guilty of throwing away food just based on the date label on the packaging? I admit, I’ve done it many times before.
It turns out that by our own ignorance, we may have been a part of the huge food waste problem in America.
According to CollegeHumor’s Adam Conover, expiration dates, sell by dates, use by dates, and best by dates don’t really mean what we were conditioned to believe.
It’s a common misconception that once our food passes the date labeled on the packaging, it’s time to toss it right in the trash. However, contrary to popular belief, these date labels have nothing to do with food safety, and it’s not a part of any government safety regulations.
In fact, these date labels aren’t even under the jurisdiction of the federal government. According to Adam, with the exception of baby food, the FDA doesn’t requite any food date labeling of any kind.
So what do those date labels actually mean? Those are actually just the dates that manufacturers believe their food tastes the “best”, not when they’re no longer safe to eat.
Some of the examples given in the video show that eggs can actually be eaten 3-5 weeks past the sell-by date, canned and dried foods can be saved indefinitely, and that even after milk “spoils,” it’s still safe to drink.
Yeah, you read that right.
According to Adam, because milk is pasteurized, all the bad bacteria is taken out way before milk “spoils,” meaning that although it may taste absolutely rancid and disgusting, it’s still safe to drink.
But milk’s the exception, not the rule. For other foods, you’ll definitely want to look for changes in smell, color, or texture for signs of spoilage. You may also want to make sure that food is always properly stored. So instead of keeping an eye out for those pesky date labels, make sure you keep an eye out on your refrigerator temperature or how long you have something our on your counter.