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    Confusion About Expiration Dates Causes 90% of Americans to Waste Food

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    The Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard Law School's Food Law and Policy Clinic just reported that 90 percent of Americans waste 40 percent of the country’s food supply each year due to misunderstanding dates on food packaging.

    Understandably, most people don’t want to risk getting sick from expired food. However, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard Law School's Food Law and Policy Clinic just reported that 90 percent of Americans waste 40 percent of the country’s food supply each year due to misunderstanding dates on food packaging. That’s billions of pounds of food, natural resources, money, and labor wasted.

    According to the report, a product may not be as fresh, but it’s still edible. Back in the 1970s, the food dating system was created to give people an idea of a product’s freshness. But, people have come to associate the dates with food spoilage and risk of illness.

    Other issues include multiple labels such as "enjoy by", “use by” and “sell by”; inconsistent use of those labels from the individual states regulating them; and arbitrary manufacturer decisions.

    Besides saying people can decide when a product’s bad, researchers also want to make the sell-by date invisible. Stores should pull products if this date passes to ensure reasonable freshness. But, they don’t always. If stores make mistakes with the date printed on, how can consumers know a product’s freshness without it?

    However, most agree a standardized food dating system would help. Do you support the proposed measures?