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Reducing Food Waste – Expiration Dates

Expiration date printed on the top of a can of food.

At one point or another, we have all debated eating or throwing away a food product after the date on its label has passed. But do we need to throw away food as soon as the date on the label arrives? Oftentimes you will see the phrases “Best if used by,” “Sell by” and “Use by,” among others. It can be confusing but these dates refer to product quality and flavor and are not expiration dates. Next time you notice a food product whose label date has passed, check for signs of spoilage like color, consistency, or texture before deciding to consume or throw away. This is another small step you can take to reduce food waste at home!

For more information, watch “What Do Food Expiration Dates Really Mean?” created by our colleagues at NC State’s Homegrown .

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