Keeping food longer than the expiration date? That’s okay.

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(Graphic/Alyssa Herzbrun)

Food waste occurs frequently from throwing out supposedly “expired” food. Much of this waste comes from food that is technically past the expiration date but is still good to eat. Feeding America, one of the more well-known food banks, helps spread awareness in regards to the amount of time you can keep food after it expires. They suggest that grocery stores are setting the expiration date early to avoid complaints from consumers. The unexpired goods that would often be thrown out are instead taken in by food banks who distribute them among food insecure people or homeless people. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, “40% of food in America goes to waste.” Part of this percentage includes waste from supermarkets. The Department of Agriculture encourages others not to waste food and explains that most packaged products can last up to six months or a year after the expiration date. 

According to a survey from the National Resources Defense Council, 90% of the population don’t understand the true meaning of their food labels. For example, “best by”  and “use by” dates do not mean the food is no longer safe. Instead, it means the quality may diminish and not taste as fresh as before. A can of green beans, for example, can last up to a year after the expiration date. Knowing the real expiration dates would lead to much less waste.

Alyssa Herzbrun, a senior at American Heritage, is in her third year of newspaper. She currently edits the opinion section of the newspaper and is a Co-Assistant Editor-in-Chief. On the weekends, Alyssa loves to volunteer at places like Broward Outreach Center, Ronald McDonald House and Feeding South Florida. Alyssa is an avid reader. Over the summer she read a book every day but school is interfering with her reading streak. She also loves to clog (not the toilet but the dance). Alyssa is looking for a great year and hopes to meet many opinionated people.