Americans Throw Away 165 BILLION Dollars Worth of Good Food Every Year Because of Sell-by Dates!

Perfectly Good Food Is Thrown Away Daily While People Go Hungry In the U.S.

How many of you are aware that grocery stores discard perfectly good food and then have their employees pour bleach or some other poisonous chemical over the food so that poor and homeless people will not take the food out of the dumpsters for themselves?

This is part of the war on poor and homeless people. It may not be the intention of these stores to make things worse for poor and homeless people, but that is the end result.

Is there anyone who really believes it is moral to throw perfectly good food in the garbage and then ruin it to make sure no hungry person benefits from it? A person who would not purchase it in the first place? A person or persons that would not purchase the food because they have no money or Food Stamps to do so.

The excuse stores give for throwing away so much food, some with “sell by” dates that are not yet expired, and then destroying the food with chemicals or locking the dumpster is because of liability and tax concerns. That is their excuse for not donating the perfectly good food to soup kitchens or homeless shelters also.

Someone suggested to me in the course of writing this hub that laws require these stores to handle discarded food the way they do, so I researched it. There are no state or federal laws requiring that discarded food be destroyed or locked up.

Did you know there are more than 60,000 veterans who are homeless? Many of them are among the dumpster divers. That is the thanks they get for serving their country.

Good Food Thrown Away Needlessly

Lots of hungry people right here in the USA would love to have this discarded food.
Lots of hungry people right here in the USA would love to have this discarded food. | Source

165 Billion Dollars Worth of Good Food is Thrown Away Annually in the USA. YES, That Is Billion with a B.

Andrew Lam, writing for Huffpost Green writes that the average family of 4 in the U.S. throws away $2,200 worth of food every year. Lam reports that the people of this country throw away close to 40% of our perfectly good food every year and that is estimated to be about 165 BILLION dollars worth of perfectly good food thrown in the trash in this country every year.

Yet we have hungry people in this country and all over the world who could make good use of that food.

Reuters agrees with the above statistics and reports, “Just a 15 percent reduction in losses in the U.S. food supply would save enough to feed 25 million Americans annually. It also would lighten the burden on landfills, where food waste makes up the largest component of solid waste, according to the NRDC [Natural Resources Defense Council, a food and agriculture program], a nonprofit environmental organization.”

40% of America's Food Is Thrown Away Every Year -- under 3 mins

Tons of Food Is Wasted Daily In the USA -- 4 mins

Which Foods Most Often End Up In the Landfill?

What makes up the food waste? Fresh fruits and vegetables from grocery stores, packaged foods that have reached or passed the “sell by” date, which according to WebMD does not mean the food is no longer good, but that the quality (appearance) may not be as good after that date.

Most foods are good for 4 or more days beyond the “sell by” date. Some remain nutritious and safe to eat for several months and even years after that date depending on how they have been processed. Also, restaurant portions that are too large often do not get eaten and end up in the trash.

How to Understand Food Safety Dates and Expiration Dates

"Sell by" date. The labeling "sell by" tells the store how long to display the product for sale. The issue is quality of the item (freshness, taste, and consistency) rather than whether it is on the verge of spoiling. "Sell by" date is the last day the item is at its highest level of quality, but it will still be edible for some time after.

"Best if used by (or before)" date. This refers strictly to quality, not safety. This date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date

"Born on" date. This is the date of manufacture and has been resurrected recently to date beer. Beer can go sub-par after three months. "It is affected by sun. The light can reactivate microorganisms in the beer. That's why you have to be especially careful with beer in clear bottles, as opposed to brown or green.

"Guaranteed fresh" date. This usually refers to bakery items. They will still be edible after the date, but will not be at peak freshness.

"Use by" date. This is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.

The only food items required by federal law to be labeled for expiration are infant formula and some baby foods. Some states also require pulling dairy products from store shelves on the expiration date. Otherwise putting sell-by or use-by dates is all voluntary on the part of the manufacturer.

The Above information is from WebMd. You can access it by copying and pasting the URL for WebMd in my reference section below.

Tons of Good Food Thrown Away Daily in America

Digging through discarded food in a dumpster and checking food labels.
Digging through discarded food in a dumpster and checking food labels. | Source

How Long Are Foods Generally Good?

WebMD says experts say the following about how long foods are good:

Milk – for about a week after the “sell by” date.

Meat, or pork, etc. -- 3-5 days. Personally, I would go with the 3 days and even that may be stretching it – just reporting my personal experience with it. Within 3-5 days you need to cook or freeze the meat or any food you have included the meat in.

Poultry or seafood is good for about 2 days. It should be frozen or cooked within that time period.

Eggs – if purchased before the “sell by” date should be good for 3-5 weeks. I have often used them for much longer with no ill affects. Much depends on whether or not you keep your refrigerator cold enough. It should be just short of freezing the milk, etc.

Where You Store Your Food Matters

Even dry, canned, or bottled foods should be stored in a dry, dark place at a temperature of around 50-70 degrees as much as possible prior to opening.

Refrigerated or frozen foods should be moved from the store to your refrigerator/freezer as quickly as possible.

Acidic foods like tomatoes and tomato sauce, etc., should be good for 18 months or longer if unopened. Green beans and other similar canned foods (low-acid) can be good for 5 years or more.

Cans that are bulging should be discarded and anything they’ve touched should be disinfected. Wash your hands well after handling them. Never buy canned foods that are bulging.

Never purchase damaged packages or packages with holes in them because you do not know what may have gotten into them, if they have gone stale, if someone has tapered with them, if they have become freezer burned, or a host of other issues.

Once a food product has been frozen and if it is kept frozen, the “use by” date or any other date are irrelevant. The freezing process negates that date.

Take the time to learn about food expiration dates to save money and to keep yourself and your family safe.

References

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/do-food-expiration-dates-matter


The Atlantic

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/06/is-it-ok-to-stretch-a-dollar-by-keeping-your-food-past-the-expiration-date/258415/


Andrew Lam

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-lam/waste-more-want-more_b_1825759.html


Reuters Food Report

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/21/food-waste-americans-throw-away-food-study_n_1819340.html

© 2012 C E Clark

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Comments 149 comments

Au fait profile image

Au fait 17 months ago from North Texas Author

Indian Chef, thank you for reading and sharing the conditions in regard to this subject in your country. Also, thank you for the votes and share. Yes, it's getting more wasteful here because many cities across this country are now making it against the law to take things from dumpsters so that the homeless are charged horrible fines, $500 in some cases, for each item they are caught removing from a dumpster. When they can't pay the fine they are jailed.


Indian Chef profile image

Indian Chef 17 months ago from New Delhi India

This is same all over the world. In India so much money and food is wasted in marriages and birthday parties. They throw away so much food after marriage and that too so costly one that over 100 people can eat. We should not waste so much good food. Very good hub and voting up , useful and sharing.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 21 months ago from North Texas Author

Shyron, thank you for the votes and share and kind words. Yes, I've considered writing about drugs, mainly OTC. People often throw them away needlessly because of sell by dates.

There are some that a friend of mine can't take unless they are old because their new strength is so strong he can't breath when he takes them. Wish I could remember the name of them, but it escapes me at the moment. It's for colds.

Blessings to you and John also. Hugs, and hopes you'll both stay safe and inside where it's warm until we get through this ice age.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 21 months ago from North Texas Author

Tamirogers, thank you for taking time to come by and comment. My mother was just the opposite and as a result, I am too. I know when things have gone bad from experience. Meat in the frig gets 2-3 days and that's it. Can tell from the smell if milk has gone sour, but there are things you can do with sour milk if you want. Know mold when I see it and if it hasn't taken over the entire loaf it's often possible just to remove the offending sections. We were poor growing up and we didn't have the luxury of tossing things out just cuz.

Thanks again for stopping!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 21 months ago from North Texas Author

Larry Rankin, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on the subject of this article. It is because the self-centered want everything for themselves and do not want to help the less fortunate. Just the other day I was at the mall and I overheard a man say that unemployed people should be put to death. Yup, that's what he said. They're a drag on society. People like him aren't going to lift a hangnail to help a person who needs a job, let alone food or shelter, and people like that seem to be the majority in our disposable culture.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 21 months ago from North Texas Author

Kristin Howe, thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience, and for the votes. Fruits and veggies are usually pretty obvious if they're spoiled -- if you're talking fresh fruits and vegetables. Meat is often obvious too -- it looks and smells bad often times, but if you know it's been out for a long time (more than an hour, or less if it's outside in high heat) or if you know it hasn't been handled properly by the people preparing it, avoid it. Lots of people throw food away way too soon and it costs them a lot of money over the course of a month or a year.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 21 months ago from North Texas Author

pstraubie48, thank you for reading and commenting and for your high praise, and I always appreciate the angels. When bread is moldy it's easy to see the mold. I just tear it away if it's just a little bit.

Easy to see if a can is damaged too. If you've purchased it ad deemed it acceptable when you bought it, what has happened in your cupboard to change that?

If the can was in good shape when you bought it and you haven't substituted it for a baseball or a bowling ball, it should still be fine. Generally the cans that are damaged have obvious dents, or liquid leaking from them, or the tin may be discolored.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 21 months ago from North Texas Author

Peachpurple, thank you for your comment. I rather think God, like most fathers, is very disappointed in his children. Sad because of the awful things we do to each other, and because some won't make it into the Kingdom.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 21 months ago from North Texas Author

Vocalcoach, thank you for reading and commenting on this article, for the votes and the share. Yes, it is terrible to waste so much food when there are hungry people who have little or no food. It is also causing people on tight budgets to have tighter budgets because they are throwing away perfectly good food. Their money would go further if they didn't throw away all that good food. Grocery stores and restaurants could lower their prices a little if they didn't have to offset the cost of throwing away perfectly good food.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 21 months ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W, thank you for commenting, sharing, and G+ing this article! Canned foods can usually be kept for years. You mean canned foods can actually lose more flavor than the canning process has already taken from them? How will one notice if even more of that favor has dissipated since they are already reduced to mush in most cases anyway?

I used a 5 year old package of flan mix before Christmas. It came out fine with no ill affects on me. If there are no bugs or worms and the container is in tact, I see no reason why most canned or boxed/packaged foods can't be utilized.

Thanks again for everything!


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 21 months ago

I have seen the TV show that Peggy is talking about, I agree. Prescription drugs are the same thing, they lose their strength, but most are still safe to use.

This is a fantastic article. Voted up, UAI and shared again

Blessings and hugs to you my friend.


Tamirogers profile image

Tamirogers 21 months ago from Seattle, Washington

WOW. I must admit I am guilty of this..My mother was one of those that threw things away way too early..thanks for the hub..gave me lots to think about!


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 21 months ago from Oklahoma

It's crazy how much we waste in this society. Not only do we have plenty of food, if we didn't build a single additional house, there'd still be plenty of housing. Yet people are starving and homeless, crazy!

Great article!


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 21 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Great hub. There was a news segment about this, two years ago, on a morning talk show, that my mom and I saw. I have the list from the website of how long veggies and fruits last, as well for dairy and meats, too. Voted up and up.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 21 months ago from sunny Florida

The main foods I will not eat beyond expiration dates besides breads which become moldy are canned foods. Too much risk involved there for me. Inspecting cans for bulges at the lid is a tip off not to purchase and certainly not to use.

Aufait, once again your article hits me right smack dab in the face---it hurts to know of all the food thrown away when just down the street thee are so many hungry little ones.

Thank you for being a voice that needs to be heard.

Angels are on the way this morning ps


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 21 months ago from Home Sweet Home

America is not the only one, even our country is doing the same thing, god must be very angry


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 21 months ago from Nashville Tn.

Thanks for this excellent hub! It's just a crime when it comes to how much food we throw away. People are starving, children are hungry...it's inexcusable.

You have provided us with a good wake-up call.

I'll be sharing this and voted up, useful, awesome and interesting.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 21 months ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Au fait,

On the Today Show this morning I viewed a segment of whether foods past a certain sell date could safely be kept or should be tossed. This seems to be a regular series since it is at least the 3rd time I have seen it...all with different pantry foods being shown.

For the most part, the reason the nutrition expert would put canned and packaged foods in the "toss category" is merely because it has lost some of its flavor which has degraded over time. Many foods can be kept literally for several years beyond the suggested sale dates and still be safe to consume. Of course that varies depending upon the food. Most of the foods were put in the "keep category" past the sell date.

Good topic to once again share and this time I will G+ it as well. People should know this!


crazyhorsesghost profile image

crazyhorsesghost 23 months ago from East Coast , United States

Thanks Au fait. I have read most of your Hub Pages and I think they are wonderful. I just got back from raiding Grocery Store Dumpsters for the last 6 hours. We got a huge load of food tonight that will be used to feed many hungry people. I really appreciate you writing about the homeless. I am going to be sending links to your Hubs to friends of mine to read. I hope that you and yours have a great New Year. I can't believe its already 2015. I have so much to do. Well I'm going to get busy. Peace to everyone and I hope that the Great Spirit brings peace to all of you.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 23 months ago from North Texas Author

Crazyhorsesghost, thank you for your continued interest in this article and the issues presented here. Very glad you found this article useful and worthwhile also. Agree with you totally regarding the reason many self-described Christians go to church.

You would likely find my article titled "It Is Against the Law to Be Homeless or To Help Homeless People In the USA! The Meanest Cities in the United States." I have printed Matthew 25:31 at the end of it because I truly believe many self-described Christians have not read their Bibles if indeed they own one. I think they use it mainly as a coffee table book to impress visitors, or perhaps as a doorstop, but I think they have not read and digested the book.

All you say is correct. We're on the same page.

Hope 2015 will be a happy, healthful, peaceful year, for you and those you love.


crazyhorsesghost profile image

crazyhorsesghost 23 months ago from East Coast , United States

Thanks Au fait. I really enjoyed your Hub Page and no I'm not a Christian though I was once. I was raised Catholic but have returned to the religion of my Native American Grandfathers. (Sioux )

Its sad that most people who go to Christian Churches go there to be seen in their fancy Sunday Clothes and try their best to build a bigger building than the church down the street. The people are the Church and not the building. I challenge every Christian to sell their fancy clothes and cars and buy coats and food for the poor and hungry. And its their Bible in Matthew 25 / 31-46 where it talks about this.

Its really sad that religion in America and other countries got mixed up in politics and it burns me up to see people raise funds to send out of the USA when 1 in 5 children in America go to bed hungry. Grocery Stores fill their dumpsters full of perfectly good food and then lock the dumpsters. America is really screwed up and its only going to get worse not better.

America's roads and bridges are in really bad shape. Most will fail in the next 25 - 40 years. Nothing is really being done to prevent this. All these years after the Hurricane 15,000 people still live on the streets of New Orleans. The people in America need to wake up and throw all the Republican and Democratic politicians out of office and put people in office that would be for America. All the lobbyists in Washington DC need to go. A lot of American politicians need to be tried for treason.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 23 months ago from North Texas Author

Crazyhorsesghost, thank you for taking time to read this article and to share your thoughts on this important subject. There is absolutely no reason for anyone in the richest nation on earth to be without food, shelter, or medical care. The fact that so many people believe this country is based on Christian values only adds insult to injury. If indeed this country is based on Christian values, where are the Christians? Why do we have even one hungry or homeless person in this country?

Hope you had a happy Christmas and that the New Year will bring the best possible good fortune, good health, joy, and peace.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 23 months ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W, thank you for sharing this article and helping to raise people's awareness on this subject. Yes, though many people have food a plenty, there are sadly people in this world, including children right here in the US, who do not have enough food and who go to bed hungry every night. If you know someone who is struggling, take them a nice big grocery bag of food.


crazyhorsesghost profile image

crazyhorsesghost 23 months ago from East Coast , United States

This is a really good Hub Page with a lot of great information. 1 in 5 American children went to bed hungry tonight. 15,000 homeless people are still living on the streets of New Orleans. The average professing Christian should read all of Matthew 25 31-46 carefully. And then think carefully about it. This is a Hub Page that everyone in America should read.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 23 months ago from Houston, Texas

With all of the parties and thoughts of food during this holiday season of year, it is sad to think that there are hungry people in this world. This is an important topic regarding the use of perfectly good food. Happy to share once again. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and soon to be new year.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Deborah-Diane for your comment and share!


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 2 years ago from Orange County, California

This is such an informative article about a topic that confuses so many people. I'm sharing this again!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Askme, for stopping by and commenting on this article. We do have a Trader Joe's on Greenville Av in Dallas.

Other people have already gotten the great idea of selling food past the sell-by date and that's a good thing. Glad Trader Joe's is jumping on the bandwagon.

It is the issue of liability that businesses use for throwing away perfectly good food, pouring bleach over it and/or locking the dumpsters they throw it in.

There is always the chance that food not properly stored will make someone sick. What happened to the skill we all used to have in seeing and smelling things so that we knew it was bad? And of taking care to make sure things were stored and refrigerated properly to avoid spoilage and sickness?

Thank you for adding important information to this article!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Victoria Lynn for reading and commenting on this article and for sharing your thoughts on this important issue! Sell by dates are almost always meaningless because they are for the seller, not the buyer, and use by dates can be just as limited in value. Much depends on how items are stored -- have they been allowed to sit out for long periods of time? That will shorten their 'safe to use' life quicker than anything else.

The biggest problem is that sellers (grocery stores and restaurants) are throwing away and destroying tons of food everyday when there are so many hungry people in our country who could make use of it.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W for sharing and helping to spread the word that food is often good much longer than the sell by and use by dates stamped on them. I really like some of the ideas commenters have suggested here that will allow people to purchase these foods at a huge discount. I would really like to see these foods donated to food kitchens rather than destroyed.


Askme profile image

Askme 3 years ago

I don't know if you ever heard of Trader Joe's, we have it in California. It's a great store with fresh food, organic and nice wines all at really good prices. The founder of Trader Joe's is opening stores where he will sell food that is past the expiration date. The stores are going to be in the lower income areas so people can buy things like bread for .25 cents. Eggs of .10 cents, fresh fruits and vegetables for a fraction of what they charge at other stores. It is a great idea. Not only do we not contribute to more landfills but people on fixed incomes can buy a wide variety of foods they ordinarily cannot.

One worry tho' is someone might claim illness from buying outdated food and sue--that will ruin it for the rest of us.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

GREAT info! I hate to waste food, so I have always gone by how it looks and smells. If it looks and smells okay and hasn't gone too long past the date, then I'll go with it. :-)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

I am going to pin this to another one of my boards titled Do you know this? Perhaps it will gain more attention. People should really be better informed about this subject. Such a shame to waste perfectly good food especially when so many people go to bed hungry in our country and elsewhere. Sharing once again.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Kathryn Stratford, for reading, commenting, voting on, and sharing this article! Very glad if it was helpful to you.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

MG Singh, thank you for stopping in and inquiring how this problem might be solved in a positive way. As I stated in this article and in some of my comments above, insurance companies that provide liability coverage to businesses do not want to be responsible in the event someone would become ill from eating 'outdated' food -- that's the excuse they give. So rather than take that chance, the food is destroyed. A shame really, and like you, I think with some effort a compromise might be reached, but first people involved must be persuaded to make that effort . . . Thank you for stopping by!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you dahoglund for reading and sharing your experience and thoughts on this important issue. Processed foods (boxed and canned) are usually good for a long time. I've used cake mixes that were over a year old and they were fine -- turned out well and no one got sick. I've used lots of foods well past the sell by and/or use by date as I've written in comments above, with no ill affects and good results. I learned growing up on a farm what to watch out for when it comes to food spoiling. Meat and meat products have the shortest life as a rule. They're only good refrigerated for 2-3 days max, so to preserve the longer it may be necessary to cook them and then freeze them to avoid having to throw then away.

A shame so many stores and restaurants throw so much good food away when we have so many hungry people right here in this country who would be glad to have it.

Thanks again for your comments!


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

This is a very useful hub. I hate wasting food, and am very careful to use what I buy.

Voted up, sharing, bookmarking for my personal use, and pinning.

Thanks for sharing this with us, and have a great day!

~ Kathryn


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Delores Monet, thank you for sharing your experience and your thoughts on this issue. It seems to me we could figure something out that would give reasonable protection to businesses who donate food that is past it's sell by date. After all, we sent people to the moon, so how hard can it be to resolve this issue right here on the planet?


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Alexadry, thank you for sharing your knowledge and thoughts on this important issue. I frequently use eggs that are 6 or months past their use by date. Just 2 weeks ago I baked a chocolate cake from a mix and used eggs that were dated more than 6 months ago. Both my adult daughter and I had some of the batter (we can't help it, we love cake batter) and neither of us became ill, and the cake turned out great too!

I have also used milk several days past the use by date. With milk it's easy to know when it's gone bad -- it gets sour and you can smell it, although lots of people actually like sour milk. Sour milk doesn't usually make anyone sick, and can be used in some recipes that call for milk with no ill affects, but if it starts to smell rotten, then it shouldn't be used.

So many foods are good for a long, long time beyond the use by date and it's really a sin that so much food is wasted, thrown away, and poisoned in some cases, or locked away, so that hungry people can't get to it or use it.

Very much appreciate your useful information about your personal experience on this issue.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Heidithorne, thank you for commenting on this issue. Indeed it is difficult to make fresh produce last sometimes. One way is to prepare it so it can be frozen if it looks like you won't be able to use it before it goes bad. You can always make soups and chutneys from many vegetables and fruits.

Lettuces are probably the most difficult to preserve, but if Dole can package lettuce that will last in prime condition for 8 or more days, then there has to be a way we ordinary people can do it too.

One thing to realize is that most food is perfectly good long past it's sell-by date and even beyond it's use by date. Prepared foods containing meat are usually the fastest to spoil, so making foods where you can add the meat later when you actually plan to eat it is another idea to think about.

Thanks for stopping by!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Levertis Steele, thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! I agree it would have been nicer if the boxes of snacks would have been left in a nicer place, but that would have insinuated that the company intended for the poor people to have them, which would open up a whole new issue of liability if someone got hurt/sick from eating them.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Nell Rose, thank you for stopping by. Here dumpsters are often locked or bleach or other poison is poured over the food to make it useless to the poor and the hungry.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

bat115, thank you for stopping by. Agree with you!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Levertis Steele, thank you for commenting on this article and for sharing it!

As I stated in this article, most businesses have liability insurance and the insurance companies don't want them making food available that has passed the sell by dates because the insurance companies don't want to be liable in the event someone gets sick from eating that food.

There is of course little likelihood of sickness occurring, but you know how insurance companies are. We need to find a way that will work for everyone and provide this food that is usually perfectly good, to people who need it. Thanks again for caring.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Rebeccamealey, thank you for stopping in and leaving a comment! Wasting food when there are so many hungry people right here in our own country -- and Congress has recently voted to cut the Food Stamp (SNAP) program by 40 BILLION dollars -- is a sin.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W for tweeting and sharing this important article!


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore

Nice post. You have high lighted a malady. Why can't some organization intervene and give the food to poor and destitute ?


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Good advice. It used to be that stores would discount dented cans etc. There are still stores that sell surplus groceries and other things. I tend to buy quite a few of these products, but one should follow your advice and look for damage. At one time I was uncertain about buying such goods and called the County Agricultural Extension Service for advice.They had me talk to a "food scientist" who told me things to look for and also said that the state of Minnesota(where I lived at the time) m had high standards of food inspection and I could be confident in buying. voted up and sharing.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 3 years ago from East Coast, United States

The crazy thing about this is that one minute the food is okay to sell, the next minute the stuff is in the dumpster. One New Years Eve, a young man turned up at our party and started handing in artisan breads and bunches of flowers, all from the dumpster of a high end market. We were all delighted. Yet it all came from the garbage. Yet there are poor people out there who could eat this stuff. Panera donates tons of stuff to soup kitchens instead of throwing it out.


alexadry profile image

alexadry 3 years ago from USA

A couple of years ago when I lived in Missouri, we found an Amish store in a small Amish town. Every thing was dirt cheap and we figured out only once we came home that all products were expired, but not just by months, but years! I asked people around there and they told me that these products were still OK and they ate them all the time. And if there was anything with mold or smelled fishy, we could always return it. Well, moral of the story is we ate yogurt expired 6 months ago, and many canned goods even expired 2 years ago, and all was still tasty and we never got sick! I still miss this store dearly, as it helped us and many others go through tough times. I still remember having my cart extra full of goods and paying something like $30 for food that lasted a month. I wished there were more stores like these!


heidithorne profile image

heidithorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

This is such a huge problem on so many levels! At our house, we want fresh produce, but some of it is sooooo perishable. I just cringe when hubby puts a pile of produce in the cart. I always worry that we'll be throwing out a bunch of it. :( Great informative hub!


Levertis Steele profile image

Levertis Steele 3 years ago from Southern Clime

I knew of a business that had a few hundred employees. It offered vending machines for their convenience. Whenever snacks expired, they were thrown in the trash. I suppose the venders did it. Some poor people often came on the site and raided the bins. The company permitted the people to raid the bins, but I do not understand why the trashers did not leave the boxes in a better place.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

This has been on the news recently in England too, its disgusting, many people on the program were seen going into the bins to retrieve the food as they were living on a small income, makes me so mad!


bat115 profile image

bat115 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Good hub. Something everyone needs to read!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Food waste is so sad, thanks for an enlightening view on it.


Levertis Steele profile image

Levertis Steele 3 years ago from Southern Clime

Dates do cause much food waste. Some peddlers get expired produce from grocers and sell them in communities at reduced prices. These peddlers are usually elderly men.

Since many people do not buy food after dates, some grocers reduce prices to get quick sales, but they seldom sell them all. The fruits and vegetables would be a gardener's delight for composting; and farm animals would have a ball with the cabbages, turnips, corn, apples, carrots, etc.

Grocers could donate this food to feed the hungry especially at the community kitchens. I would think that they could get a tax write-off for it.

Great hub! I will share.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Giving this a tweet and another share. People really should be informed about this important topic.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Shyron, for stopping by and sharing this article! We do need to shrink the amount of wasted food in this country. With so many hungry people even in this richest nation on earth, it's a cardinal sin to throw so much good food away. Now with the Food Stamp program being cut back even though hunger has not been eradicated, there will be even more hungry people who would appreciate this food if it weren't destroyed to avoid anyone benefiting from it.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Deborah-Diane for sharing this article, and for your kind praise. Hunger is a serious problem all over the world and even here in the U.S. We do indeed need to find a way go stop wasting so much good food when there are hungry people among us.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

Remember the old saying, "waste not want not?" I will be sharing this again in case some of my followers missed it.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California

I am sharing this information again. As the holidays approach, many people become more aware of the need to help the food banks. Of course, we should be doing it all year long. Perhaps this article will make people more aware of the amount of food that is simply wasted and some solutions can be found to aid in food distribution. You have written another powerful and helpful hub!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Paul Kuehn for reading and commenting on this hub, and for voting on it, and pinning and tweeting it!

It is the same for many medicines. OTC meds lose their strength overtime and from my personal experience that can be a good thing. Mucinex for example, when it is fresh and the date is far in advance is too strong for me and I have talked to friends who say the same is true for them. After the recommended date has passed for a few weeks, even months, it isn't quite so strong and the effect it has is much better. One of my friends who is in his late 60s says Mucinex is so strong he can barely breath after taking it -- it dries him out so badly.

I would consult with my doctor or pharmacist if prescription drugs were past their due dates. You can discuss OTC with pharmacists too. I'm not aware of any that become toxic after time, but I'm not a pharmacist or a medical practitioner, so I would hate for someone to take that chance not knowing if that could happen.

The reason, as stated in this hub, why many businesses do not donate food to soup kitchens or food pantries is because of liability. If someone becomes ill as a result of eating that food the donor is liable for damages. Letting them off the hook completely is not a good solution either. Hopefully a good solution will be found. Insurance companies will raise the premiums for businesses they know are donating food to these programs that help the needy.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

Au fait,

This is a very interesting, useful, and well-researched hub that everyone should read. It's really shocking how much good food Americans waste. Thais waste food, too, but not nearly as much as Americans. I never really thought that foods were still good for some time after the expiration date. Is it the same for medicine? Americans also waste a lot of food when they go to restaurants. Why couldn't some of this untouched food be boxed up and donated to food pantries? Voted up and shared with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinned and Tweeted.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Cantuhearmescream for continuing to take an interest in this issue and for trying to get people involved in making changes. There really is no good excuse for so much food being wasted. I think it's odd that a world that can send people to the moon can't figure out a way to make sure everyone has food to eat.


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

My brother just came up from West Virginia to visit last week. I brought up this hub and we spent more than an hour talking about this issue because of that. I'm sending it to FaceBook again since I'm here and I'll probably repeat regularly. Just maybe enough people or the right person will realize how wrong this is and something will change.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W for pinning this hub!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Cantuhearmescream, for taking this hub to heart and realizing how serious it is. I really think wasting food on such a huge scale is scandalous and unconscionable, especially when this world has so many hungry people in it. Thanks for the share, too.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Going to pin this informative hub to my Useful tips and ideas board.


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Au fait,

I couldn't agree with you more and that's why I shared this through every social media I know how... and I see many others have at well. I'm glad this struck a chord with people, but I'm almost equally disappointed that so many don't seem to care.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

I AM sarkey, Bobby, so much more than you know. Thank you for stopping by and for your high praise. I've missed you. Hope all is well. xx


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Man of strength, for reading this hub, and for sharing your experience on this subject. I often use eggs 6 months after their due date has passed. So long as they look OK and I'm going to cook them anyway, I go ahead and use them. Been doing it for years with no harmful affects.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Patriot Quest, thank you for stopping in and sharing your thoughts on this subject!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Cantuhearmescream, Cat, thank you for your thoughtful comment. I'm glad you and several others are taking this issue seriously. It is a serious issue, because being so wasteful is next to being sinful in the worst way whether one believes in God or not. Sinful in the secular way . . . as well as the Godly way. With so many hungry people in this country and around the world there should be no major wasting of food such as my research uncovered.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

prairieprincess, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub! My information on use-by dates comes from WebMD, so I think it's about as dependable as one could find. I have always used things even when they were long past that date on the package unless I can see or smell something is wrong with them. Cake mixes are fine for a year or more.

I've used eggs even 6 months past their date -- I know they've been well refrigerated and never allowed to stand out, and I plan to cook them. I wouldn't put eggs long past their due date in a cake mix for example, because I usually lick the mixing bowl and there's raw egg in the cake batter.

Canned items can be good for literally years, as stated above. Frozen is good for a very long time too if care has been taken not to let the frozen items thaw or become freezer burnt from poor packaging.

Glad this hub will be helpful to you! Thanks for coming by.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

Hello: You're a sarky little vixen, aren't you? I meant the real Diogenes used to do that in the Athens Safeway!

You write great articles sweetie and I am glad you are getting all the attention from the faithful.

Bob (Taking care) x


Man of Strength profile image

Man of Strength 3 years ago from Orlando, Fl

Hi, Au fait

What a great hub. I worked at a major grocery chainin Florida. At the end of business, POUNDS of food would be thrown in the dumpster. Baked chicken, fried chicken, vegetables from the hot display window went to waste. Before I knew better, I'd throw away eggs and other foods on the expiration date. Now even if it's past the date, I give it a quick "smell test", If I haven't passed out then its getting consumed. This reminds me, I need to scramble my 2 days expired eggs.


Patriot Quest profile image

Patriot Quest 3 years ago from America

I read hubs concerning the homeless and poverty stricken on a regular basis, forgive me for being naïve but I don't understand? The only homeless I have ever witnessed, are bums, meaning they have mental, drug, etc. problems? We have 50 MILLION on food stamps? We have half that many on other welfare programs along with free housing? ANYONE except ME can get on welfare. Only reason I can't is because I made too much money in PAST years? .........anyway I don't buy it, As far as liability is concerned, one can blame the bleeding liberals for that, They are the party for the people who always end up HURTING the people. I'm sure some lawyer told the grocery stores to lock it up and ruin it! Free food is at most churches, and other organizations daily throughout America......................aint biting!


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Au fait,

I couldn't agree with you more and I've been talking about this to anyone who will listen, ever since I read it... and I'll keep talking... until I have to start screaming! :D


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you, X-Con, for reading and commenting on the hub! I agree that it's beyond shameful to throw away so much perfectly good food when there are hungry people who need it.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W for tweeting and sharing this hub!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

relationshipc, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub. The big concern businesses have regarding the donation of food is the liability involved in case someone gets sick from it. Given immunity from all responsibility to keep the food reasonably safe would possibly cause them to become so uncaring about what happens to the food that it might very well make someone sick, so the issue I suppose is to come up with a happy medium, whatever that might be.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Cantuhearmescream, thank you for reading, commenting, complimenting, and sharing this article. If anyone ever wondered what a sin is, wasting this much food is an excellent example. Considering how many hungry people we have in this country and all over the world, this is surly one of the most egregious sins anyone can commit. We need it to stop.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you mary615 for reading, commenting, voting on, sharing and pinning this hub! I'm glad you had your grandson read this article too. Everyone needs to know about the horrific waste of food we have in this country so that something can be done to stop it. With so many hungry people in the U.S. and all around the world I think it is travesty that so much food is thrown away and no one is allowed to benefit from it.


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 3 years ago from Canada

Thanks for this! I had always suspected that these dates were flexible, and had the arguments with my sister about whether or not we could keep things a bit past due date. Now, I can let her know that it is not always necessary to throw things out right on the date. :)


X-Con profile image

X-Con 3 years ago from The Free World!

That was a good and informative hub! Such a shame that so much food is not only wasted but destroyed.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

This hub is so educational and particularly in hard times people need to know this. Am sharing again and also tweeting.


Relationshipc profile image

Relationshipc 3 years ago from Alberta, Canada

I was just thinking about this today so it's weird that I ran across your article in my feed - or a good coincidence I suppose.

There has to be some way for large stores to donate their almost expired food to shelters. There has to be, right?

I don't know, the whole issue makes me sick.


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Au fait,

I knew there was "waste" going on, but never to this extent! I cannot believe how angered I am after reading this hub, but I thank you for writing it. This makes me sick... veterans who fought to keep us alive now have to fight to keep themselves alive? Starving children, struggling families! After leaving an abusive relationship with 2 little children, in between jobs and homes, I went to a local food pantry once a month for a few months. Most of what they give away are at or past their sell by dates. If it wouldn't have been for that food, we may not have eaten. Thank you for writing this and I'm spreading it everywhere I can! Absolutely awesome hub!


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

I have always been a frugal person (I like to call it thrifty). My Grandson and I have discussions all the time about this very thing. Thanks for all the good info. I had him read this Hub!

When I was a food server, it always bothered me at night when we would close up, all the left over food went into the trash compactor! What a waste.

I voted UP, shared, and Pinned.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you DeborahNeyens for reading and commenting on this hub, and for sharing new and useful information on this subject and sharing this hub on your Healthy Food Examiner FB page. I hope everyone will visit your page and check out all the great information you have there!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa

Food waste is a huge problem and this is a great hub with good information. Did you know that September 21 will be the start of Food Waste Awareness Week? (I just heard that yesterday.) Anyway, I'm going to share this hub on my Healthy Food Examiner Facebook page. Thanks.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for reading/commenting on this hub, PetCole17. Keep in mind that most of the canned goods in your pantry have sell-by dates and that's different from use-by dates. Most canned foods are good for months and even longer.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Lately I've noticed that the canned goods in my pantry seem to expire quicker than we can use them. I hesitate to put them into the trash and know that even if I donate them, they will likely be discarded once the expiration date has passed. Your article points out a lot of good information about this wasteful practice. Thanks for bringing this to light.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

vespawoolf, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub! Agree that it is unconscionable and heinously wasteful to throw so much food away when there are hungry people in this country.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

This is a sad commentary on American society. Of course it can't be morally right to throw away food the poor could benefit from. I appreciate all the tips for food storage and how to know if food can still be eaten. Something needs to change!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for stopping by Shyron. Most foods have expiration dates printed on them, but the food is often good for much longer.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Neinahpets, thank you for reading, commenting, and voting on this hub!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

ib radmasters, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub. Yes, if you read my hub in its entirety you know that some businesses owners/corps are afraid of lawsuits and so they see allowing people to take food from their dumpsters as an insurance liability.

Thanks for stopping by!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

DDE, thank you for reading, commenting, and voting on this hub! You are so right that so much waste is shocking and we need to change it.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

Many times grocery stores sell food that have expiration dates.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

adrienne2, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub. I hope the explanation of the meaning of the sell-by dates was helpful to you and that it will help keep so much food from ending up in the trash. With so many hungry people in here in the U.S., it is truly deplorable that so much food goes into the garbage.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you rajan jolly for reading, commenting, voting, and sharing this hub! You are so right. It is unconscionable that so much food is being wasted when there are so many hungry people in this country and in this world! We need a better system.


Neinahpets profile image

Neinahpets 3 years ago from Greater Toronto Area, Canada

Definitely worth reading!! Thanks for sharing, voted up!


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 3 years ago from Southern California

Au Fait

The reason probably is the fear that if the food is given away, it will lead to a lawsuit if someone gets sick or dies from eating it.

No good deed shall go unpunished or without a lawsuit.

my opinion...


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Wow! Food to be thrown away like that is far too much, people just take life for granted a sad state of affairs. Once you really dig into this information the truth is revealed you have done wonderful in letting us know. Voted up!


adrienne2 profile image

adrienne2 3 years ago from Atlanta

Excellent article! Thanks for stating all the information on the sell by and expiration dates. Very helpful. It is terrible how the US throw out so much food. I know from experience when I stayed in a homeless shelter for about 4 months the ton of food that when in the garbage at the end of the day was just unbelievable. Good food, but due to the health and sanitation department it was policy. Voted up and useful thanks for sharing.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Very useful information. the huge amount of food being wasted is an eye opener. In these trying times and with the increase in people who go hungry it would be best if such food that is dumped as waste goes to feed them.

Voted up, useful and interesting and sharing it.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

TToombs08, thank you for reading & commenting on this hub! Think of all the money a person can save simply by understanding the food expiration dates on the foods in their pantry & frig . . .


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 3 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

Wow, this is truly eye opening, Au fait! Thank you for shining a light on the food dating system and expiration.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

FreezeFrame34, thank you for reading this hub and sharing your thoughts on this important subject. Wasting food when so many people are hungry all over the world is deplorable. We really do need to turn this situation around.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W, thank you for reading/commenting and for linking to this hub! Thank you for sharing your own experiences too, and for that tip about the cheese. My mother and I too have cut the mold off of cheese when necessary, and I didn't even think to include that in this hub. The use by dates are from WebMD, so I think they're pretty dependable and I hope people will learn from them. Foods that are canned especially, can last a very, very long time.

Thanks again for adding interesting and valuable info to this hub!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Melovy, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub. The economy won't turn around fast enough for many people and our politicians in both Parties seem in no hurry to make things better for the people who are hurting the most. It is a shame to ruin and throw away food when there are so many people in need right now.


FreezeFrame34 profile image

FreezeFrame34 3 years ago from Charleston SC

Amazingly informative hub, and sadly accurate.

I recall going into a restaurant that has a pizza buffet. We got there right as soon as it was closing, but there was TONS of pizza, salad, bread, soup, and dessert left. I humorously said to one of the employees, "Wow! I bet your friends and family LOVE when you get to bring all of this food home from work." He sadly looked down and said, "No, ma'am. We can eat as much as we want here, but after we close- we can't take anything home; it all gets thrown away- that's company policy." He explained it as "portion control" so that employees wouldn't make extra food to feed their families.

I also remember going to a seafood restaurant and the server accidentally messed up my order- it was no big deal, but I just mentioned it. She brought out another dish that was exactly what I ordered. She took the other one and threw it away. I mentioned that I was displeased with the wastefulness and I would have been completely satisfied with the mistake.

I can't get over how wasteful we are as a nation; we just throw away money basically!

Thanks for opening up all of our eyes; now we need to do something about it!

Maybe we could at least convince big businesses to use the old produce to make compost; in turn, planting more locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables here in America!


Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK

This is an interesting article. In the UK there has been a drive for some time to increase the amount of food donated to food banks and I think this is happening here now. I hope the situation improves in the USA soon too.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

I agree with you that many of our canned and packaged foods are good well past the "sell by" dates. I had no idea that bleach was used to pour over good food in dumpsters in order to ruin it for the homeless. That seems criminal to me. It is a shame that there are homeless and hungry people in America who rely upon dumpster diving...but that is a sad reality.

When I volunteered in an assistance ministry we gave out donated food and were able to teach some of the other volunteers a few things. They thought that if some mold appeared on the outside of chunks of cheese, it had to be tossed out. They did not realize that it could simply be cut off and the cheese underneath was still good.

There is a day old bread place nearby where we often purchase some of our bread. Who eats an entire loaf of bread in a day unless one has a large family? The very next day it IS day old. Since it is just the two of us, we often freeze the bread and only keep out what we think we might eat in the next few days.

Excellent hub! Should be eye opening to many people. I am going to link this hub to mine about "Why is there Food Starvation in America?" Up votes and sharing!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for your comments Shyron. Most food is good for long past the sell-by date. I've given examples in this hub. Hope all's well with you . . .


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago

Very informative, I don't know how I missed this one. I usually go according to the dates as much as possible. However some I let go past the sell by date.

Another great hub


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Millionaire Tips, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub! You are correct in that the dates on food can intimidate people who aren't sure if food may be spoiled and so they throw the food away and get more to be on the safe side.

The guidance I give for how long food is good after the sell by date, etc. is from WebMD. I reference them, but I'm not sure if people read carefully enough to see that reference. Sell by dates and use by dates are very different. I would adhere to the use by date if I was not certain the food was good. Most foods have only a sell by date on them and so there are several days beyond that date that the food is good. The recommendations for how long food is good past the sell by date come from WebMD also.

Thanks again for stopping by!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you bdegiulio for commenting on this hub! Something definitely needs to be done about all the waste. Soup kitchens would no doubt love to have this food as would the homeless and hungry. I think it's unconscionable that so much good food is destroyed and dumped in landfills while so many people are hungry and living in poverty.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Brett.Tesol, thank you for reading, commenting, pinning, tweeting, and sharing! Something definitely needs to be done to stop all the wasting of perfectly good food.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for commenting moonlake! I got all my information on the dates put on food from WebMD, so I think it's trustworthy. I hope people will learn more about this so that together we will waste less food.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for reading and commenting sgbrown! We do need to help others in need more than we do and get this economy out of the commode, and yes, we need to stop wasting energy to produce food that ends up filling up our landfills. I'm hoping that understanding the dates on food will mean less food going to waste.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Alecia Murphy, thank you for reading and commenting! More people need to understand the dates on food so we can stop wasting good food by filling our landfills with it.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

mvillecat, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub! I have had similar experiences to what you report. Milk that lasted well past the sell by date, etc. Cake mixes and other packaged products that were good long after the sell by date . . . It's truly a shame we waste so much food when there are so many hungry people in this country and around the world.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for your comments carter06! You have some good suggestions and I agree that less should be put on one's plate so that if one's eyes turn out to be bigger than one's stomach there is no need to throw the food away. Just save it for a snack later . . . and yes throwing food in the landfill is to me like wasting it twice. Once in creating it and again in disposing of it.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

We had this debate in our family recently - I was on the side of using the food past its expiration date, but you know, it is scary because there is a perception that the food may be spoiled and I could get sick from eating it. I think it would be in the manufacturer's best interest to make those dates as short as possible so that you will throw it away and buy another.

I know I need to be much better about buying only what I can use before the expiration date, and then I will be able to have fresher food and not have to worry about expiration dates.


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

This is very important info and also very useful. It bugs the heck out of me to throw away food because I know there are so many people out that who go hungry. Supermarkets should have some system in place to channel this food to the needy. What a shame. Thanks for sharing with us.


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 4 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

It is sickening that so much food is wasted, when so many are hungry! However, it is more sickening that the legal systems and 'suing culture' prevent companies from donating the food. There should be a law created to protect the companies up to a set age of foods, so that all could give the food to the hungry ... or even better, a law that requires 'edible' food products to be donated, instead of trashed.

Shared, up, interesting, pinned and tweeted.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

You are so right. The sell by date doesn't mean the food is bad. We waste so much. Voted uP.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Nicole S, thank you for reading and commenting and I agree that is one of the reasons some people waste a lot of food.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for reading and commenting on my hub, Diogenes. I appreciate that you agree that we need to do more to help the less fortunate.

Take care, Bob . . .


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for your comments Fiddleman! Out of date items are rarely available for sale, but thinking through whether they should be thrown out after that date arrives and the food product hasn't been used yet would certainly be a good thing to do. Canned and boxed foods especially, remain good for a long time after the sell by date has passed.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

glamourous06, thank you for your comments! I hope people will rethink throwing good food away. Our landfills are being filled with perfectly good food and so there is waste and pollution in creating the food and then all over again in disposing of it.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

Very informative hub! It is a shame that we have become so wasteful! So many people going hungry, yet we destroy food that could be given to these hungry people. I truly feel ashamed! Voting this up and more! :)


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Don Bobbitt, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub! Most canned goods remain good for a very long time after the sell by date -- up to 5 years. Between soup kitchens and food pantries, it's unlikely they wouldn't be used before 5 years are up. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables are trashed everyday too. It's shameful to destroy so much food for no good reason.


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

This is valuable information. One of my friends in college taught me that I need to look beyond the dates. Voted up, useful, and interesting!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Kris Heeter, thank you for reading and commenting on my hub! It's nice to hear about programs here and there that are attempting to lessen the amount of waste in our country.

People really need to understand the dates stamped on food better in order to cut down on food waste that ultimately costs so many billions of dollars that could be used for other things if it weren't unceremoniously thrown in the dumpster and destroyed.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Tillsontitan for reading, commenting, voting and sharing! We really do need to do something about all the food being wasted, especially given the condition of our economy and the resulting homeless and/or hungry people.


mvillecat profile image

mvillecat 4 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

I recently bought a gallon of organic milk for one dollar that normally sells for six because of the sell by date. We drank every drop of that milk and it was fine. Now when I go into the store I look for that discounted milk. It is a shame that so much is wasted. Disgusting.


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW

You make some great points Au fait...Food safety is paramount I feel, illness from food that is off is not a joke at all...and dumping excess waste in landfill has got to be reduced, it's a serious problem for us here in Oz...Then there is the issue of the homeless and hungry in society. When I visited the US early 2004 I couldn't believe the amount of homeless people there, surely many could be fed adequately from the food that is thrown away...perhaps we could do as the French do and buy very little and learn to make a meal out of few ingredients...great hub btw...lot's of votes


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Glimmer Twin Fan, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub. Yes, many foods, like canned foods, are good for up to 5 years beyond the sell by date. If you don't feel good about using them, donate them to a soup kitchen where hopefully they know these foods are still good.

I have used milk up to 6 days after the date on it and it never did go sour nor did the taste suffer. I keep my frig so cold -- just short of freezing or forming ice on things. I think that makes a difference too.

Thanks again and have a good evening . . .


Nicole S profile image

Nicole S 4 years ago from Minnesota

Awesome post. Many people waste so much food just because they don't know any better.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

Another aopproach used by Diogenes.

Bearing in mind all these huge food chains are sociopathic swine, do the following.

Fill you basket or cart with some items. Then include some sandwiches, cakes, crisps, a drink etc., that you can open easily and push your cart around while stuffing your face.

Abandon cart and leave market.

Do regularly, picking a different market each time...many times they give free samples, too, take a handful.

Always be prepared to pay if busted.

F**ck em!

Bob


Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 4 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

Great write and using a little common sense goes a long ways when buying those out of date items.


glamourous06 profile image

glamourous06 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Great hub , very interesting to read, makes you think twice when you through food becouse of sell by date, thanks for sharing


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 4 years ago from Ruskin Florida

Great Hub and an important subject.

But lets think this problem through for multiple solutions for different scenarios.

For instance, take the supermarkets and their out of date canned goods as a segment of the problem.

First off, they are not going to set up a shelf of canned goods that are free to the poor in the middle of their store. That would be direct competition to the sale of their other goods.

But, if a non-profit charity were to negotiate picking up all of their out of date canned goods, they would probably agree.That is unless the manufacturer of the canned goods objects. You will need their approval also, because they have sold these goods to the distributor.

So, you have everyone approval, now what?

Well, you now have canned goods that ae ticking time bombs, so how do you maximize their usage?

Logic says that you can use some of these immediately for serving in food lines, but there will still be significant waste if the rest not used very shortly.

I would suggest that the charity take these still good foods, open them and cook them at an adequate temperature that they are then safe and use one of the local canneries that are available around the country. Once properly re-cooked and re-canned they can be stored on shelves for possible another years or more for distribution to the needy.


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

Very nice article! In our community, we have a program where our "Community Kitchen" will go around and collect food from restaurants at the end of the day - food that would normally just be thrown out. It's brought back to a centralized kitchen, divided up and frozen so that families in need can come by on designated day sand get food if they need it.

The food has to meet certain criteria to prevent food poisoning, but all in all, it's a good program.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

This is an excellent reminder of the waste we produce when we could be feeding the homeless. We have a local company that sells baked goods (like Wonder Bread but on a smaller scale). Years ago they would donate their goods at the end of the day then suddenly stopped, saying they were no longer 'allowed' and had to destroy the food.....makes you wonder!

You are correct, there is a National Good Samaritan law that protects stores and manufacturers when donating food. Maybe we need to give Shop-Rite and Walmart a wake up call!

Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and shared.


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

I needed to read this. I am a fanatic about throwing things out at the sell by date and it drives my husband crazy. I also cannot believe that stores pour bleach and other things on top of things they throw out. That is absolutely horrible. I'm going to have to check my things more carefully before I throw things out. Great hub! Shared.

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