Food Expiration Dates: Suggestion, or Drop-Dead Date?

Part of trying to live greener is learning to see shades of gray. That seems to be the lesson many environmentally-minded folks are telling us, including a great post today from Treehugger: Expired Food is Much Desired. Apparently, the UK's Approved Foods site is doing a bustling online business in past-date foods. Are all their customers saving money while risking their health?

Jonathan Bloom at the Wasted Food blog is something of an expert in the fine distinctions between moldy and inedible. While there is hope that manufacturers could move to using a sensor that reflects food's actual status rather than a static date, he points to this article from Culinate for tips about what to put in your mouth without putting your life in your hands.

1. “Sell by” versus “use by.” The former term is intended for vendors, to let them know how long to display items on store shelves. The latter term is for consumers.
2. Date labels are conservative.
6. Donations bonus. Expiration dates are a boon for food donations, as they create a steady supply of edible but not sellable food. If the dates didn’t exist, stores might keep items on the shelves until they actually started going bad.

See the rest of the tips here.

Tags: Expired food, Food waste, Health, Waste

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