Consumers’ Ideas on Tossing Food: About to Expire

Time Magazine recently featured an article that looked into the many misconceptions consumers have when it comes to their food being labeled with “sell by,” “best by,” “use by,” etc. Alexandra Sifferlin, in “Foods You Are Probably Throwing Away Too Early” reports, “confusion over expiration dates on food leads more than 90% of Americans to throw out food prematurely, so 40% of the U.S. food supply ends up in the garbage–unused–every year.”

The article covers research done by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic. According to their study, consumers are perplexed with the current state of expiration date markings. To counteract this confusion and to address the amount of wasted food in the US, “the study authors also call for legislation by Congress to develop national standards that would standardize a single set of dating requirements.” Through such an effort, along with a suggestion for more public education, it is hoped that consumers can reduce their amount of food waste without compromising food safety.

In addition to a more well-informed public, any such future legislation may bring about some significant changes in how the food industry does business, too. What will be some of the challenges? How do you see it affecting the way your operation and distribution systems work? Further, what are your thoughts on how the industry might help in finding a mutually beneficial answer to updating and implementing a new, fair food labeling program?

To check out the full article, click here.

A Picture of Mathew J. Bartkowiak, Ph.D.

About Mathew J. Bartkowiak, Ph.D.

Laboratory Products Department Manager, Nelson-Jameson, Inc.
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