Did you know that here in the United States we waste over 140 trillion calories of perfectly good food every year? And yet each and everyday- someone goes hungry. But why are we wasting so much? A recent national survey, from researchers at The Ohio State University, is providing a comprehensive overview of the exact reasons why we waste so much—and one of the most common reasons may surprise you.
Many of the reasons make sense or rather, wouldn’t surprise you: ran out of time, bought a little too much in bulk, or simply thought something that had been sitting out a couple days (apples, bananas) no longer looked quite right.
However, the most alarming reason was that over 68 percent of people believe that once the expiration date had passed, eating those foods was likely to cause food poisoning.
From the article:
“Food borne illnesses aren’t spread by old food, they’re spread by contaminated food, and food can be contaminated no matter how fresh it is. But underlying that misconception is an even more insidious one: expiration dates don’t actually tell you whether your food has spoiled or not.
Expiration dates are not scientific calculations, they’re estimates designed more for the use of grocery store stocking decisions than determining whether your food is still good or not. The only food actually required by federal law to have a real expiration date, when it shouldn’t be consumed after, is baby formula. For all other foods, government regulators are perfectly chill with selling and eating food past its expiration date.”
Amazing. And disturbing because the FDA acknowledges that expiration dates have little to do with whether they will or won’t consider a food safe. And this attitude is causing an enormous amount of waste.
So, since it is important to know if your food is safe for consumption, as in- not spoiled- what should you do? Simply look, smell, feel, and, if it comes to it, taste the food. Trust us, if something is spoiled, it won’t be hard to miss. Even if you weren’t looking!