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Hey, Don’t Throw that Stuff Out! I’ll Eat It!

This is a song I have sung in my house for 48 years on June 11th but now I finally get some help from the federal government!  The story was all over the news this week about how Americans waste a ton of money disposing of perfectly good food because of an arbitrary date.  A date that even the industry says is confusing.  According to the FDA, “That’s not surprising when you consider the variety of terms used with date labels, such as “use before,” “sell by,” “expires on,” and many more.”

Well turns out that those dates in most cases represent an industry guess about when the product’s quality will remain at its best.  The FDA is working with the food industry to come up with a consistent term like “best if used by” but again that does not mean that the product cannot or should not be used after that date.  Trust me, there have been a number of rather spirited discussions between my spouse and I when I say these eggs are still good or I think the milk is still ok, or the crackers still seem to taste good.  It was not until a segment aired on NBS Nightly News this weekend that I got the confirmation needed to use the old faithful taste and sniff tests to determine if the food stays or goes.

The FDA gives some helpful hints and has a wonderful discussion here and they refer you to more detailed information here and here.

I know we usually write about drugs, biologics and devices but I thought this snippet was worth saving you a few dollars and could also be useful in getting the entire family on board!