Mar 1, 2019
Johns Hopkins investigators, surveying US consumer behaviors, reports that more than half of those questioned had key misconceptions about the date labeling found on food. As a result, US Agriculture Department estimates nearly one-third of food is wasted at the retail and consumer levels.
The latest standards for food labeling use the term “Best if used by” to indicate the date after which food’s quality and taste may decline. In contrast, the term “Use by” is the date after which it is unsafe to consume the food.
The Hopkins study also reveals how likely people are to respond to the date warnings. Nearly 70% of respondents tossed raw chicken on time, a little over 60% discarded deli meats or prepared foods, and only 49% dumped soft cheese.
These stats are worrisome since deli meats and soft cheeses have a high risk of bacterial contamination with listeria as they sit in the fridge. On the other hand, raw chicken will be safe even after the expiration date if you thoroughly cook it.
Food poisoning can be devastating for even healthy adults. If it occurs in children or older adults, it may be deadly.
#foodsafety #expirationdates #foodlabeling #delineat #softcheese #healthnews
Roni A. Neff, Marie Spiker, Christina Rice, Alexandra Schklair, Sally Greenberg, Emily Broad Leib. Misunderstood food date labels and reported food discards: A survey of U.S. consumer attitudes and behaviors. Waste Management, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2019.01.023