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food waste

Did you know Americans throw out 30 to 40% of the food they buy because it is expired? Except for infant formula, product dating is not required by Federal regulations, therefore most labeling is done by companies voluntarily in order for them to tell you when the QUALITY of their food is best, not as an indicator of food SAFETY. This includes labels such as “Best if Used By,” “Sell By” and “Enjoy By.” Confusion over date labeling is what prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to encourage retailers to be more consistent with labeling.

Consumers should rely on their own senses, of course, to determine if their food is unsafe to eat, but if you’re looking to help cut down on your food waste, here are some other tips:

Meal Prep!

Plan out your weekly meals and go to the grocery store with a grocery list so you can avoid buying food you won’t be able to eat in time.

Limit the amount of perishable food you buy, such as meat, dairy and produce, because it spoils faster. Freeze food you don’t think you’ll be able to eat in time!

A simple internet search can inform you on how to best freeze food depending on the type. When making big meals, separate it out into smaller single- meal sized Tupperware and freeze what you won’t eat that week.

Eat leftovers first and fast!

If you go out to eat, ask for a to-go box or bring your own Tupperware from home. Prioritize finishing your leftovers first before going out to eat the next time or making a big meal at home.

Learn how to store your food properly to make it last

There are resources online about how to best store your food. For example, carrots do well in a glass of water inside the fridge and potatoes should be stored in a bag in a dark place. Remember to go through your pantry and fridge often to double check that you are making use of the food you already have.

Throwing out food hurts the environment and your wallet. Reconsider your food choices and reorganize your relationship with your fridge.

The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s vehicular and customized wheelchair Lemon Laws and Arbitration Programs, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the MA Do Not Call Registry. Contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer.

 

 

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