Reduce Food Waste, Sell By. Use By and Best Before dates

As I touched upon in my blog about meal planning, we are simply wasting a ton of food.  According to a report published by NRDC:

“American families throw out approximately 25% of  the food and beverages they buy.  The cost estimate for  the average family of four is $1,365 to $2,275 annually.”

% of Food Wasted by Consumers by Category

Food waste, Grain, Seafood, Fruits, Vegetables, Meat, Milk

Source: NRDC

Of the food wasted, Seafood seems to be getting trashed at the highest rate and Meat at the lowest.

Three Tips To Limit Food Waste

This past week ABC News ran an interesting 3 minute report about food waste.  They tracked the behavior of a family of four for one week by putting cameras in their grocery cart, kitchen, refrigerator and pantry.  They discovered that this family wastes about $2,300 worth of food each year.

In this report they recommend three tips to limit food waste:

1-  Learn the lingo: Sell by or Use by does not mean toss by, you can often eat it up to 7 days after these dates

2-  Plan your plate: Manage your meal and portion sizes

3-  Zone your fridge:  To extend the life of all dairy, liquids and eggs keep them in the lower section of the refrigerator because it is colder

How To Interpret ‘Sell By’ And ‘Use By’ Dates

Do “Sell By” and “Use By” dates confuse you?  You’re not alone.  According to The Telegraph, UK is planning on scrapping Sell by dates to curtail food waste.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service provides some guidelines on types of dates:

“-  A “Sell-By” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before the date expires.

–  A “Best if Used By (or Before)” date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.

–  A “Use-By” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product. “Use-by” dates usually refer to best quality and are not safety dates. But even if the date expires during home storage, a product should be safe, wholesome and of good quality if handled properly and kept at 40 °F or below.”

What Are Some Of The Things That You Do To Reduce Food Waste?


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