Did you know that the “best by,” “enjoy by,” and “sell by,” dates that we see on food packaging DO NOT ADDRESS FOOD SAFETY?!
Let that sink in for a minute, I’ll wait …
Did you also know that these dates are not regulated by the federal government, and do not mean you have to eat them by that specific date? The purpose of these dates was so that grocery stores to help rotate items for inventory management. An incredible study was done by National Resource Defense Council, and Harvard University’s Food Law and Policy Clinic, which you can read here.
In America, we waste 40% of all produced food. Perfectly edible food, just thrown out, and it’s mostly because of the thinking pattern embedded in our minds from seeing the “sell by” or “use by” dates printed on items.
My own husband truly believes that when the clock strikes midnight on the night that the tiny blue label on the milk carton states that it MUST get poured down the drain or we will get violently ill. I call it the Cinderella Effect in our house, but after working in this field; I am realizing that America is obsessed with “The Cinderella Effect” as well.
My grandparents and their siblings were Italian immigrants that lived through The Great Depression, and growing up it was often a topic of conversation because they never wanted to see my generation, or my father’s generation experience what they endured ever again. The one thing that always stuck out to me was that they never wasted a thing! Menu planning was the same every week! Gardening and growing your own food was a way of life. Oh, and if something was bad and needed to be thrown out? You used common sense, and your God-given senses to figure out if it was bad — never relying on printed dates.
Food waste affects all of us, we just don’t realize it. We are either hurting or helping the problem. I know I am guilty of it. How can we change our ways?! At Bargain Grocery are trying our hardest to bring positive change to our communities, and to help in aiding the epidemic of wasting food, creating change, and doing our part to see food insecurity numbers go down.
Photo courtesy of veeterzy, Unsplash