Sell By Date

Yogurt is a staple in my diet. That means I spend a lot of time running out to the grocery store to stock up on more yogurt. I find nothing more aggravating than buying new, delicious yogurt with a sell by date that was over two weeks ago.

I frequently have this problem in Tulsa grocery stores. I have resorted to actively checking all expiration dates before making purchases. Do stores just not care enough to check their shelves? I am constantly perplexed that store workers are not given the task of pulling expired goods off the shelves.

I know many foods are still safe to eat after the sell by date, but grocery stores should still have to remove those from the shelf. The name says it all really. “Sell by date”; the day the food should be sold by, otherwise move that product off the shelf. I worry about the amount of food wasted by grocery stores. These establishments need to think about their waste earlier to find ways to push products to consumers before they go bad while sitting on their shelf.

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4 thoughts on “Sell By Date

  1. Oh my gosh! I totally relate to this!!!! My parents give me so much trouble because I am one of those people who live by the sell by date. I understand how wasteful it can be…I just wish I knew a better way of understanding what foods really need that and what foods don’t!

  2. To Eat or Not to Eat?

    I think the food manufacturers try and confuse consumers on purpose. What is that purpose? I can only infer to cause us to spend money…more money than we already do. One way I feel they cause this muddily mix-up is to use “code” words for expiration. I suppose they didn’t devise a real code, though some products are not too far off.
    Go into any grocery store and you will see the following terms in the matter of minutes: “Sell by”, “Best if used by”, “Guaranteed Fresh”, “Use by” and “Pack” dates. There are probably a few I’m missing. As a consumer, I just really want to know if and when I should eat it? SOMEBODY…FOR THE LOVE OF A HUNGRY GAL…TELL ME CAN I EAT THIS FOOD?
    Thankfully, someone does the hungry gal (not to be confused with the ever popular Hungry Girl)! Here is a few facts to help the consumers who do not want to waste money or get food poisoning!
    Experts at WebMD give a simple breakdown of the codes. You can find that here: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/do-food-expiration-dates-matter
    I found the most useful information at usda.gov. It states that it is not federally required for manufacturer’s to provide dates. So the dates they do provide are more for their use or the store’s use to know when the product is at it’s peak freshness. We need to be informed about food freshness and make those decisions based on safety. There is a wide range of charts that we can use to make these choices and feel empowered when cleaning out the refrigerator.

    Look at these links:
    http://whatscookingamerica.net/Information/FreezerChart.htm
    http://www.fda.gov/downloads/food/foodborneillnesscontaminants/ucm109315.pdf
    http://visual.ly/shelf-life-food (This is one of my favorite charts)

    I think if we use the sell by date as a guide to knowing it’s no longer at it’s peak then we can judge when it truly becomes trash. Go ahead and be a rebel, eat it passed the sell by date.

    LINK ALERT****Here is an extremely long link that I wanted everyone to have access to*****
    http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/food-labeling/food-product-dating/food-product-dating/!ut/p/a1/jVJrb4IwFP018A1axBld0iyMxKibOGM2kS9LgfIwSFlbJNuvX8umEaObbZrbnntuH-cUBMAHQYn3eYpFTktcqHUweIdLOLBGLpwtRtYYTr235eLJdeFwdScJmz8Inn1j_ZXmwP_qZzcc0GNzd56CoMIiM_IyocBPiTBwyRvCOPATSmOD44SITyPBkTB4Rog4JAockiIv099lxWhcS04sJboGrkHQvRa0ZJ969qo_mXk2XPTPCRd0-yFcF0a-PC1o2Jq0ccrQHsonMpIQRphZMwlnQlT3GtRg0zRmSmlaEDOiOw3K7APHSOgsEmirfyCdcBYhrnNas4ighoR6FCNL35MYQfexvxxvHUeXZUjtqVm2o1m9sRpq64Tn3Kx5jOUh-xasuAoVZQIXaqYYKgpa5VE7O9WcSO3aD6cSJ86c8068OaYO7hyBrhUd-JJQGeUC-F2BQLV79b-enQnMX3brIXe-AfP0Jx4!/#5

  3. What Should We Do?

    Expired foods,
    Oh expired foods.
    What should we do?
    Should we keep you on the shelf,
    even though you are well past your date?
    No one said we have to.

    Expired foods,
    Oh expire foods.
    What should we do?
    Do we dispose of you in landfills
    only to cause you to rot and discharge methane,
    a deadly greenhouse gas?

    Expired foods,
    Oh expired foods,
    What should we do?
    Should we pull you off the shelf early,
    giving you to food banks,
    allowing 50 million Americans to eat?

    Expired foods,
    Oh expired foods,
    What should we do?
    Do we collect and donate you,
    to farms and zoos
    only to be used for good use?

    What should we do?
    Definitely, not waste you.

    To find out more information on wasted food:
    http://feedingamerica.org/how-we-fight-hunger/programs-and-services/network-programs/food-waste.aspx?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=redirect&utm_campaign=foodwaste
    http://www2.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-wasted-food-basics
    http://endhunger.org/food_waste.htm

  4. As a consumer, I prefer to buy my food with an expiration date that is a minimum of a week away. I just know it will take me that long to actually get around to eating that product. Even though my preference is to have a large buffer window to consume my purchases before they go bad, I don’t want to see food left on grocery store shelves to expire.

    Many grocery stores are doing their part to make sure these products end up in the hands of those who need them most. According to http://www.forbes.com, salvage stores have seen an increase in business from consumers wanting to save money. Grocery stores will send excess or expired (but still safe) foods to salvage stores to be sold at a discount.

    Grocery stores are also making sure these items end up at food banks. According to http://www.forbes.com, food banks have seen a 40 percent increase in demand for emergency food assistance. This food is helping those who need it the most. Products that are at their labeled expiration dates should be pulled off the shelf and sent to organizations that can provide them to people in need.

    I know that expiration dates are just a guide for food freshness and it is important to make sure products are consumed up until the point they are no longer safe. It is important to me that grocery stores are doing what they can to make sure food ends up in peoples’ mouths instead of rotting in a garbage can.

    To find out more about what happens to expired foods visit: http://www.forbes.com/sites/nadiaarumugam/2012/01/06/what-happens-to-old-and-expired-supermarket-foods/.

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