[FACT OR FAKE #20] Does Food Really Go Bad On Expiry Date?

Do food really go bad when it hits the expiration date? Read the truth about these "Best Before" dates.

Do you throw food out according to the "Best Before" date?

Image via akamaihd.net

Generally, you'll see three types of expiration dates on your food, and they all mean slightly different things. However, contrary to popular belief, they refer to the quality of the food, not the safety.

lifehacker.com

Did you know? Most products are safe to eat long after their expiration date

"People think the use-by date means either the product is going to die or you're going to die if you eat it. And it's just not true. You can't tie shelf life to a date," says food safety scientist Dr. Theodore Labuza.

themalaysianinsider.com

In fact, even meat or milk that's clearly starting to spoil is not necessarily dangerous. "Very often, you won't eat it because of the smell, and you probably won't like the taste, but in a lot of cases, it's unlikely to cause you illness."

npr.org

So what's the expiration date for? Answer: Those dates are there to protect the reputation of companies, they have very little to do with food safety

Here's the short answer: Those "sell by" dates are there to protect the reputation of the food. They have very little to do with food safety. If you're worried whether food is still OK to eat, just smell it.

npr.org

Best Before date. Photo for illustration purposes only.

Image via cityofyukonok.gov

Fact: The expiration date on foods like orange juice and even milk aren't indicators of when those products will go bad

According to president of the Institute of Food Technologists in Chicago, "It's not the food that sat on the shelf too long that makes you sick. It's the food that got contaminated with salmonella or disease-causing strains of E. coli."

npr.org

"Companies want people to taste their products as best they can at the optimum."

The companies that sell this food take a look at those grades and decide where they will draw the line, to protect the reputation of their products.

lifehacker.com

Huge amounts of food go to waste in landfill and taxes, harming the environment

Huge amounts of food go to waste in landfill and taxes, harming the environment.

Image via momgoesgreen.com

As a result, huge amounts of food, not to mention considerable natural resources and labour, go to waste in landfill and taxes, and harm the environment.

themalaysianinsider.com

It has been recommended that "sell-by" dates be invisible to consumers so they cannot be misinterpreted as safety labels; that a clear, uniform date label system be established; and that "smart labels" that rely on technology to provide food safety information be used more frequently.

seattletimes.com

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