Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Food Companies May Say Goodbye To "Sell-By" And "Expiration" Labels : The Salt : NPR

Food Companies May Say Goodbye To "Sell-By" And "Expiration" Labels : The Salt : NPR

Years ago, the UK had similar rules regarding sell-by and use-by dates. They also had a habit of wrapping fresh produce, so a bunch of bananas would be wrapped in a thin plastic bag or 2 zucchini would be on a styrofoam plate wrapped in plastic - with a sell-by date. (So much packaging of produce was a contentious issue then too.)

I remember a bomb had gone off in Ealing in West London and had blown out all the windows of a supermarket. On the news we watched as fresh, yellow bananas filled the backs of garbage trucks. Piles of fruit was discarded because, by law, the grocer had to throw away any food that was past its sell-by date. It caused an uproar but I don't think anything changed at that point. It seemed a simple enough solution to take the produce out of the bag. But laws are laws and instead it was piled into garbage trucks and hauled off.

Expiration dates are often confused and lead to a great deal of food waste. In the US, industry groups are looking to correct that with labeling that clarifies if food is in peak quality, past peak and actually unsafe, hopefully reducing the amount of food wasted. 

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