Are you one of the people that tosses food just because it’s past the “sell by date?” That’s a mistake – but you’re not the only one. A new study shows that onsumers may be throwing out perfectly good food based solely on the date on the package.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says consumers and retailers waste nearly a third of food a year. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University surveyed over a thousand adults about how frequently they throw out food based on the date listed.

  • Nearly 40-percent said they always or usually discarded food if it was near the listed date.
  • More than half thought the date was federally regulated, but it’s not.

What’s the truth? If you don’t want to go by the “smell test” (as many of us do), experts say if the label says “best if used by,” that just means the quality of the item may decrease, but is still okay. But there are other items with a “use by” label – and those are the ones that should be thrown out after the date for safety reasons.

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