---- Best before .... ?
Food is not Cinderella -- it’s not going to turn into a pumpkin by midnight if it reaches a “best by,” “sell by,” or “best if used before” label date.
These ‘expiration’ dates rarely correspond to food actually expiring and spoiling, and almost nothing to do with food safety. Most packaged foods are perfectly fine for weeks or months past date; canned & frozen goods last for years. They are not expiration dates at all; our misunderstanding of them is a major contributor to edible food waste, wasted household income, and food insecurity. But many of us, with good intentions, just look at what a label says and throw out what’s old. (Note: even seeing molds and bacteria as bad is antithetical to good cooking. Salami, cheeses, pickles, sauerkraut and all kinds of food come from the natural aging process — there is no distinction between new and old food, just ingredients to be used differently.)
This is bigger than individual consumers because expiration dates bar us from donating out-of-date foods to food banks and other services designed to help those living with food insecurity. This represents a missed opportunity to feed thousands of food-insecure households, including in Aylmer, who struggle daily to access healthy, affordable food. We need to educate ourselves about what's safe to eat (study), to change the way we buy food and when to keep it or when to toss it (see the UK campaign: Look,Smell,Taste,Don't Waste).