Americans waste $165 Billion worth of food each year, which averages out to about $2,200 per family. Part of that waste is caused by confusion over expiration labels.
What does sell by, use by, best by - and other labels really mean? And, will eating food past that date really make you sick?
A new study from the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic says date labels differ so widely that they are essentially useless. In fact, Washington State law only requires date labels on perishable foods. Idaho has no laws on the books requiring dates. This allows manufacturers to make their own choices about how and what they label.
As you walk through the aisles of the grocery store you pass by thousands of products and thousands of labels. Does the food go bad on its marked date? As we found out no. In fact, some of the foods we buy are still safe to eat months after the date stamped on the side.
Dates, in essence, don't tell the consumer anything about the safety of the food. We wanted to dig deeper, so two KXLY viewers allowed us to go inside their refrigerators with food safety expert Lisa Breen with the Spokane Regional Health District.