Despite world hunger and the shortage of food globally, wasting food is more common in the United States than one might think. Statistics are staggering and Americans generate 34 million tons of food waste annually. Not only that, food comprises the largest element of municipal solid waste that reaches landfills and incinerators.
Much of the waste is the result of believing what we read on food labels, which is something most of us can admit to being culpable of. We actually throw out about 14% of what we buy as fear of salmonella outbreaks, e-Coli poisoning and other putrid possibilities that could arise from the back of our fridges take over our thinking and common sense.
Guilty as charged are many of us who throw out milk, eggs or yogurt whose only crime is they are slightly past the due date (and not by months or years, which is of course, another story). Strict adherence to date guidelines can be translated only as a waste of food that is perfectly safe to eat.
So how do you know you can eat that strange looking thing that seems to be staring at you from the back of the fridge and maybe just moved on its own?
Well you can’t eat that obviously, but you do have common sense and your own personal and highly effective laboratory in the form of your own nose.
If it doesn’t smell or look funny, it is probably okay. If you feel more daring you can taste it, but the best rule of thumb is: if you aren’t sure, then chuck it. But don’t throw it out just because the due date was yesterday.
Hail to food.
May it always be with us.