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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Dabis

Reading this will help you reduce food waste.

This is what the US Department of Agriculture websites says about Best by, Sell by, Use by and Freeze by dates. The link to their site is below.

  • A "Best if Used By/Before" date indicates when a product will be of best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.

  • A "Sell-By" date tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management. It is not a safety date.

  • A “Use-By" date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. It is not a safety date except for when used on infant formula as described below.

  • A “Freeze-By” date indicates when a product should be frozen to maintain peak quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.

This is very eye opening. This last week, when I went to go pick up food at the local food pantry here in Berkeley who donates food to us -- Alex showed me a chart on the fridge that has the ACTUAL expiry dates of various food products according to the Alameda Food Bank. They say that eggs will last up to 5 weeks.

When people donate "expired" goods to our food pantry - the fact is, that most of them are perfectly fine to eat. Some things go stale. Stuff like crackers and old pasta.

It's obvious that the food manufacturers just want you to buy more food and throw out what they say is expired. Even coffee! Who cares if it was roasted 30 days ago? It's just dumb that stores can't sell beans that are supposedly stale. We receive lots of coffee because of this system that is not based on ANYTHING legal that is mandated by the US Department of Agriculture.

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