May 24, 2024

FDA on Food Waste and Food Safety: What About Expiration?

The FDA is offering information on food waste and food safety, or what do you need to know about expiration dates? Most products have a "best by" or "best if used by" date stamped somewhere on the container. What do they mean? And can you eat a food that is past that date? This information is important because food waste is a terrible problem in this country. For instance, 80% of our freshwater is used getting food on the table, along with half of our land. Organic waste, mostly food, is the second biggest component of landfills. And those landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions, a greenhouse gas. Since between 30 to 40% of food in the U.S. goes uneaten, we are discarding $165,000,000,000 in food every year. Food waste and food safety are connected because … [Read more...]

FDA Addresses Consumer Confusion Over Use By Dates

Frank Yiannas, who is Deputy Commissioner of Food Policy and Response for the FDA, wrote a letter to the food industry on May 23, 2019, addressing consumer confusion over "Sell By," "Use By," and "Best If Used By Dates," as they probably contribute to food waste in the United States. The USDA's Economic Research Service estimates that 30% of the food in this country is lost or wasted at the retail or consumer level. That translates to 133 billion pounds of food lost, that is worth $161 billion. Every year. The use of these phrases is voluntary, and are used to describe quality dates, not spoilage dates. In a 2007 survey of U.S. consumers, less than half were able to distinguish between the meanings of these commonly used phrases. The FDA has found that food waste by consumers … [Read more...]

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