Every year, people in the U.K. throw away more than 93 million gallons of milk, 733,000 tons of potatoes and 473,000 tons of bread, according to U.K. supermarket chain Sainsbury’s.1 Similarly, the average U.S. family of four wastes more than 2 million calories, which equates to $1,500 worth of food, every year.2

Wilted or spoiled produce, moldy bread, or leftovers that sit too long in the fridge are common contributors to such food waste, but so are potentially good foods that get thrown away solely based on their “sell by” dates.

Labels like “use by” and “sell by” on foods aren’t actually an indicator of food safety, as many believe them to be.

A report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Harvard even found that more than 90 percent of Americans are throwing out food prematurely because of misunderstandings of what such dates actually mean.3

The researchers concluded that food dates generally lead to good food getting thrown away and may at the same time prompt you to eat a food that’s actually spoiled because of “undue faith in date labels.”

What Are the Facts Behind ‘Sell By’ Dates?, 4/29/16

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