Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Strict Adherance to Package Dates Costs Billions

A tag sealing a bag of hot dog buns displays a...Image via Wikipedia
What do you do when you find a package of food that has passed the date printed on the package?  Do you assume that since it is past the date on the package that it is no longer good, or do you figure that the date is just a guideline?  I have been in the retail food industry most of my life.  I know that most food, if properly handled, is still edible after the date on the package.

However, a recent study by ShelfLifeAdvice.com and Harris Interactive shows that most Americans believe that some food is not safe to be eaten once the the date has passed.  They surveyed about 2500 adults and asked their opinions on whether or not 10 refrigerated products were safe to eat past the expiration date. 

Almost half of those surveyed thought that eggs could not be eaten after the date printed on the package.  When properly stored, eggs can last 3-5 weeks after the date on the package.  Over 60% of respondents thought that milk could not be safely consumed after the printed date.  Milk usually stays good for a week after the sell by date on the package.

The study projects that if those same 60% of people think that milk is bad once the sell by date passes were to throw out a quart of milk per month, it would add up to $700 million in wasted milk.  Talk about crying over spilled milk.  With the multitude of products purchased with sell by dates, you can see how quickly the amount of money would add up.  So the next time you have a product past the sell by date, remember, there is not a clock ticking in the product that magically makes it bad when the date on the package arrives.
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