Todos los días, el estadounidense promedio tira casi una libra de comida a la basura, según un estudio del Departamento de Agricultura.
There are many reasons why food and usable foods are thrown away and usable: small or demanding children, pantry with excessive or even leftovers that remain in refrigerators for too long.
But according to the authors of a new study that analyzes the waste of food at home, ”'valid until', 'Using before' and the ambiguous labeling of the date significantly decreases the probabilities that food is completely used".The main author of the study, Brian Roe, pH.D.Professor of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics at Ohio State University, says that to reduce food waste while maintaining security it is essential to develop a uniform labeling system."However," he adds, "the challenge of consumer education remains great because consumers are required to adopt radically different responses (assess whether the quality is adequate in the face of discarding or converting into fertilizer if the article presents security risks) safety risks))based on a single small phrase ".
90% of Americans misunderstands on labels, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (Resource Defense Council, NRDC) and throw food that could still be consumed or freezed for later use.If the expiration dates are not a reliable indicator of the deterioration of food, how do you know what to save and what to throw?
What dates labels really mean
Except with respect to baby formula milk, there are no federal norms that regulate the expiration date that appears on labels.Many times, the designations "preferably consume before", "expiration" and "use before" are simply an assumption of the manufacturer about how long their foods will last in their freshest state.Supermarkets can also use dates as a guide when supplying the shelves.But the dates have little to do with how safe are foods.
According to a NRDC report and Harvard University, manufacturers usually use methods such as laboratory tests and flavor tests to establish these labels.But consumers have no way of knowing the background.In many cases, the dates are conservative, so if you eat food after that date, you may not notice any difference in quality, especially if the date has recently passed.
In order to standardize the labeling and make it clearer, the Labeling Law of expiration of food was introduced in both Congress Chambers in May 2016.But the bill is still in commission in both chambers.
Even without a federal regulation, a standardization of these terms may occur.Earlier this year, the Food and Medicines Administration (FDA) said that supported a movement of the food industry to regularize labels and facilitate their understanding by consumers.
The Association of Manufacturers of Food Products, (Grocery Manufacturers Association, GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (Food Marketing Institute, IMF) have been working with 25 manufacturers and retailers to standardize the use of only 2 terms: “Preferably consume beforeof "To indicate the best quality/taste dates, and for perishable food," use before "to indicate the date from which the food must be discarded.The objective is that all packaged consumer goods have these labels before January 2020."It is an encouraging that they have developed a plan based on the availability of better information and have actively asked their members to adopt it," says Roe."Of course, one always expects more members to adopt the guidelines and update the labels as fast as reasonable".
As a general rule, most canned foods (for example, tuna, can1 year up to 18 months, according to the USDA.However, be careful with the abolish and bumps in the cans.That could be a sign that it is time to throw those products.
If you are not still sure whether it is worth saving a product or article beyond its date label, a free application created by the USDA, Foodkeeper, will help you determine how soon specific items must be consumed, from oatmeal to milkFrom coconut to maple syrup, if stored in the pantry, or how long they will last in your refrigerator once open.
Non -perishable articles such as grains and dry and canned products can still be used far beyond the dates of their label, but with meat, dairy and eggs, it is a different story.Although there are still no expiration dates regulated by the federal government in these articles, obviously they have a shorter useful life.According to healthy mujahid, pH.D., Food Security Research Manager at Consumer Reports, the best way to know if a perishable food has been spoiled is simply "trusting the palate and sense of smell".
Once their period of validity has elapsed, food often develop mold, bacteria and ferments, which serves as a warning to your senses.Foods in poor condition will generally have different texture and color, they will have unpleasant odors and will know badly before it is not safe to eat them.
Food -transmitted diseases are by pollution, not the natural deterioration process.That said, bacteria such as Listeria thrive in warmer temperatures, so it is important.(The FDA says that your refrigerator should not be configured at more than 40 ° F.Consumer Reports experts suggest configuring it at 37 ° F).
In addition, a good general rule is to throw a perishable article after 2 hours at room temperature or half of that time over high heat.Also keep all food preparation surfaces clean, and avoid cross contamination of raw meat and other edible items.
"The most important thing that consumers must do is follow the good practices of manipulation and storage of food, which can avoid unnecessary deterioration and guarantee food safety," says Mujahid.
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