How Expiration Dates Trick You Into Wasting Food

by Z Living Contributor

Human beings exhaust earth’s resources, which creates an unhealthy planet battling a case of global warming. Those who want to be part of the solution can begin by looking in the fridge. Smart shopping and food waste recycling can help prevent billions of pounds of food from going uneaten every year

Next time you notice your cottage cheese is past its expiration date, don't immediately turn to the garbage. A new study determined that over 68% of us automatically toss our food if it's past its expiration date. While this seems reasonable, the truth is that most foods remain edible well past the “sell by” date, which is actually a guide for grocers more than consumers. 

Also on Z Living:  How to Keep Your Fresh Produce Fresh

So, how do you figure out if something has actually gone bad? Most experts will recommend simply acting as your ancestors did, and use your senses.

Scent, sight, and—if necessary—taste are good signifiers of whether something is good, or should finally be thrown into the trash. Trust your instincts. If it smells funky, it probably is.

Also on Z Living: What if Meat Eaters Acted Like Vegans?

This might feel like a sketchy, or unattractive approach to determining your food’s status, but take a moment to consider the earth. Starving people exist, yet Americans waste nearly a third of the country’s overall food supply. This lapse creates extra work for farmers, expanded use of fossil fuels and pesticides to meet demand, and a major loss of time and resources.

Moral of the story—don’t be a blind follower of expiration dates. Follow your nose and your heart to a more sustainable world. 

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