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40 Percent of American Food Is Wasted Because of Expiration Date Confusion

Almost half of the food purchased by American consumers is thrown away unnecessarily because of confusion over “use-by” dates. A report from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic, found that American’s waste millions of pounds of perfectly good food—about 40% of the entire U.S. food supply—because they mistakenly believe that passed “use-by” dates mean that the item is now unsafe to eat. Researchers said that the dates on boxes of food, cartons of eggs and canned goods are simply an indication of optimal freshness, and have nothing to do with risks associated with food-borne sicknesses. Though Congress is looking into legislation and new FDA requirements that would help clear up some of the confusion, in the meantime, you may want to wait before tossing that box of Fruit Loops sitting in the back of your pantry—it’s probably still good after all …

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