It's not you. Date labels on food make no sense.

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  • Published on:  Friday, June 22, 2018
  • Food labels don’t mean what you think they mean.

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    When people clean out their fridge, they look at whatever date is on the label and throw it in the trash if it’s past that date. But the chances are that you’re throwing out tons of perfectly good food because date labels on food are often really confusing.

    Food labels can mean many different things and often don’t give you any indication of whether the food is safe to eat or not. Many people assume that they’re federally regulated, but baby formula is the only product required to have consistent date labels. For everything else it’s up to the states to decide.

    This creates a confusing state-by-state patchwork of labels with everything from “use by” to “freshest before” to “sell by” to “packaged on.”

    And all this confusion causes us to waste tons of food every year. All the uneaten food waste costs Americans over $200 billion each year, and two thirds of that comes from households.

    If we came up with a unified, easy to understand date label system we could save money, food, and help the environment, all just by changing how we put date labels on the things we eat. is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out

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  • Vox

     (Jun 22, 2018)

    Expiration dates aren’t the only confusing part of food packaging. Here’s why the “natural” food label on so many grocery store items is meaningless:

  • betabreadboy

     (Jul 28, 2018)

    no arkansas?

  • Detteermiig

     (Jun 27, 2018)

    Janet Granzow eggs are better when not refrigerated though

  • Beary Boy

     (Jun 22, 2018)

    If you have crème fraiche in your fridge long enough to forget what crème fraiche is it's probably not crème fraiche anymore

  • Grade Berkley

     (Sep 25, 2018)

    Beary OM

  • turtletuc

     (Aug 31, 2018)

    a molded cup of crème fraiche is the one thing I do throw away occasionally...

  • Van Hendrix

     (Jun 22, 2018)

    Bees don't have to worry about that. Honey is best at all times

  • Trang Pham

     (Nov 29, 2018)

    i always call my mom to confirm.

  • Miriam Rebekah Shapiro

     (Jul 12, 2018)

    infinitude It’s still safe to eat though. To loosen the honey just run warm water over the bottle

  • Legendary King

     (Jun 22, 2018)

    Damn straight! Unless it smells weird and/or looks moldy i throw it away or take that part out and still eat it

  • Nicholas Pipitone

     (3 days ago)

    +TheSuckySix This can't be a concern. They develop the networks well before they create the spores, so even if you never eat food with visible spores, you're still regularly eating the internal mold networks of food that's ready to spore within the next couple hours. And if you're regularly eating them, eating more ain't gonna do anything

  • Dat_Bitchass_Hoexx

     (Apr 14, 2019)

    I do same, never got sick. My stomach can handle anything as long as it's not sushi or fish

  • CrossfacePanda

     (Jun 22, 2018)

    Leave it to America to overcomplicate everything, even simple stuff like expiration date labels...

  • Dat_Bitchass_Hoexx

     (Apr 14, 2019)

    I mean I too see some confusing date labels until I ask my mum 😂

  • she said

     (Jun 27, 2018)

    It's called no one wants to get sued.

  • Dank Matter

     (Jun 22, 2018)

    I had to throw away cheetos because they were stale. I thought it expired but then I noticed a little hole. I hate whoever sabotaged me.

  • Sawyer Horton

     (Jun 28, 2018)

    Congratulations, you played yourself

  • Angelic kristy Kumar

     (Jun 28, 2018)

    Do any of you even realize the consequences your digestive system faces when you eat stale food? Please try your best not to I can see that stale chips might not be that bad on your stomach yet try to refrain from it especially with other foods that can poison you.

  • はゴミですAleks

     (Jun 22, 2018)

    I just laughed really hard in the office at that 'forget about it!!! .....*sigh* I don't deserve love.' Moment

  • OilyDumplings

     (Mar 4, 2019)

    はゴミですAleks Bruh moment

  • surfie007

     (Jun 22, 2018)

    In Australia there’s only 2: "Use By" which is when it is unsafe to consume after that date (mostly seen on dairy products) and "Best Before" which is when the quality of the food is not guaranteed past that day but can be still safe to eat (seen on nearly all food and drinks)

  • Kelcy Gotama

     (Jun 22, 2018)

    Indonesia too!

  • OriginalPiMan

     (Jun 22, 2018)

    You can see other dates on Australian food, but it will always be in conjunction with best before or use by. I see "manufactured on" or "packed on" from time to time, and "sell by" is common at Aldi at least.The important thing about best before and use by is that if the food does go bad before then, then you have the right to a full refund.The only foods that don't need one of these dates are ones that are not expected to go bad or stale for more than two years.

  • World History With Dan

     (Jun 22, 2018)

    I don’t deserve love either my friend.

  • SS Robs

     (Jul 1, 2018)

    Meh, its highly overrated anyways.

  • B3njiFlareon

     (Jun 23, 2018)

    que depression

  • Carsla Peyton

     (Jun 23, 2018)

    i always call my mom to confirm.

  • Anna Ryan

     (Sep 6, 2018)

    My mom never throws anything out unless it’s moldy or tastes very sour

  • Emma Campbell

     (Jun 27, 2018)

    Carsla Peyton SAME LMAO