Here’s Why Your Food’s Use-By Dates Don’t Matter

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By Cooking Panda

One of the most frustrating things that happens to us on the regular happens in our kitchen.

We open up our refrigerator, totally excited to chow down on one of our favorite snacks or meals — perhaps an individual-serving carton of yogurt that we’ve been waiting to top with some fresh berries, or a glass of soy milk to help make our morning oats extra luxurious — only for that big glaring SELL BY or USE BY date to shatter our dreams.

But what if those expiration dates are actually … outdated?

Apparently, The Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute seem to think that expiry dates on food are not only misleading (and maybe even downright wrong), but they tend to contribute to food waste because they encourage buyers to toss out their food, even though it may still be perfectly safe to eat.

Basically, those labels indicate just how fresh and high in quality your food is when you open and eat it. They exist to protect the reputations of company’s products, but once an expiry day has passed, the misconception is that your food is suddenly dangerous.

Guess what, folks? It isn’t. It probably just isn’t at its peak freshness and taste levels, which could make a company cranky. Companies want you to eat their food in its best most optimal state!

Therefore, GMA and FMI are trying to convince companies to change their labeling game altogether, and begin using labels like “Best if used by” (followed by a particular date), and then a “Use by” date for products that actually will begin to become more dangerous to consume after a certain amount of time has passed.

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As NPR reports, expiration dates on food are actually not required by any federal law; however, even though loads of foods go stale (think some bread products) or even begin to go sour (think of that old carton of milk in your fridge), they aren’t necessarily hazardous to your health. You just probably don’t really want to eat them for pleasure anymore.

Source: NPR / Photo Credit: Britty/Instagram

Tags: expiration date, food waste, sell by, spoiled food, use by
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