There are plenty of reasons why good, usable food is tossed: picky kids, overstocked pantries, or even leftovers that sit in refrigerators too long.
But according to the authors of a new study looking at household food waste, " 'best by,' 'use by,' and ambiguous date labeling significantly decrease the odds that food items are fully utilized." Senior author of the study, Brian Roe, Ph.D., a professor of agricultural, environmental, and development economics at Ohio State University, says that to decrease food waste while maintaining safety, developing a uniform system of labeling is critical. "Nonetheless," he adds, "the consumer education challenge remains large because you are requiring consumers to undertake radically different responses (assess whether the quality is suitable vs. discard/compost if the item poses safety risks) based upon a single small phrase."
Ninety percent of Americans misinterpret the dates on labels, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and they throw out food that could still be consumed or frozen for later use. If expiration dates aren’t a reliable gauge of food spoilage