Sign up FAST! Login

Op-Ed: Is that milk past its 'sell by' date? Drink it anyway.

(Emily Broad Leib is director of the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic and executive producer of the documentary "EXPIRED? Food Waste in America")

Date label confusion harms consumers and food companies, and it wastes massive amounts of food, which harms the planet. 


Stashed in: Jim Harbaugh, Awesome, Dairy, World Hunger, World Hunger

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:


The Dating Game:

How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste in America

"There's no shelf life for football players," said coach Jim Harbaugh. "And that's something I learned at an early age from my mom -- never to believe in expiration dates. She taught us that very early -- pay no attention to the expiration date on that can or that milk or that bread."

"The Food and Drug Administration, which has the power to regulate date labels, has chosen not to, precisely because they are not related to safety."

Worth watching:


Good quote:

Montana’s is just one of many US state laws that cause confusion and massive amounts of waste. Even if food makes it to a home, more than 90% of Americans report that they mistake those quality dates labels for safety indicators, and subsequently throw away food that is still completely safe to eat. Confusion over date labels is a major contributor to the 160 billion pounds of food wasted each year in the US. The Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and Racing Horse Productions produced the film EXPIRED? Food Waste in America to raise awareness about this issue, using Montana milk to illustrate the larger story about senseless food waste in America and highlight the opportunity for reform.

The US is not alone. Globally, 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted annually. 28% of the world’s agricultural land is used to produce food that ends up in landfills, where it releases 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gas. Luckily, people are starting to pay attention. At the COP21 Paris climate meeting, food waste reduction played a key role in discussions. Earlier this year, at the World Economic Forum, two major food waste announcements were made. One was the launch of “Champions 12.3,” a coalition of 30 private and public entities working to meet the food waste cuts in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The other was a $130 million investment by the Rockefeller Foundation to reduce food waste.

You May Also Like: