Use-by dates are contributing to millions of pounds of wasted food each year.
A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard Law School's Food Law and Policy Clinic says Americans are prematurely throwing out food, largely because of confusion over what expiration dates actually mean.
Most consumers mistakenly believe that expiration dates on food indicate how safe the food is to consume, when these dates actually aren't related to the risk of food poisoning or foodborne illness.
Food dating emerged in the 1970s, prompted by consumer demand as Americans produced less of their own food but still demanded information about how it was made. The dates solely indicate freshness, and are used by manufacturers to convey when the product is at its peak. That means the food does not expire in the sense of becoming inedible.
Read the full story - Food expired? Don't be so quick to toss it
Craving McDonald’s and willing to spend $141.33? A McEverything it is - and a Diet Coke to wash it all down.
Nick Chipman, who blogs at DudeFoods.com, purchased one of every breakfast and lunch sandwich at a McDonald’s in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, to make a “McEverything.”
“Obviously, everything at McDonalds starts with a 'Mc,'” as Chipman said. The number one thing on the 32-year-old’s list of life goals was to make this monstrous sandwich.
“I have kind of a weird bucket list. Most people are like, ‘Hey, I want to go skydiving.’ Mine was like, ‘Hey, I want to make a McEverything,” said Chipman.
Long gone are the days of ice sculptures and crepe suzette served up as a matter of course in first class cabins on airliners.
But what is presented to premium passengers can still rival some top hotels or restaurants, and can often act as a good barometer for the health of an airline's fortunes.
"When times get tough, food is one of the costs airlines can cut without jeopardizing safety," says Andreas Weber, general manager of airline catering company, Gate Gourmet.
"It has changed back and forth (over time); airlines go through crises," he says. "(Today) more airlines are investing substantially in their first and business class products. Making people comfortable in big seats, everyone is doing that already, but what is left is the catering experience."