While many people point the finger at food production for world hunger problems, the truth is that food distribution and utilization are the two main areas we need to improve upon as a society.
We already know according to several reports including two from the United Nations that small-scale organic food production is the best way to “feed the world,” something else we need to do a better job at.
But our tendency to waste food (and to produce inorganic waste products like plastic) is perhaps just as important.
At home, Americans throw away 40 percent of the food they buy. Yes, 40 percent. That was the key finding of a 2013 study by the Harvard University Law School and the environmental group the Natural Resources Defense Council.
That’s a total of $165 billion in food waste.
Oftentimes, people throw away their food as soon as it hits the “use by” date, as many as 1/5 of Americans in fact according to the study.
But those dates are used for inventory control by retailers, not for edibility or safety according to Ted Labuza, a University of Minnesota food science professor who was worked on the study and was quoted by the news site www.sfgate.com .
As long as your foods aren’t getting moldy or are rotting, they are probably safer to eat for longer than you’ve been led to believe.
One good example can be found in regards to bananas. Many people throw them out when they get a few larger brown spots on them, but bananas with brown spots on them actually have more antioxidants.
Don’t be afraid to buy produce at or near the sell-by date, especially if you can get a discount on it. You can even ask the cashier or manager if they’ll give you a discount; many are likely to oblige because of the overall negative attitude toward produce that doesn’t look quite look “perfect.”
Do you throw out your food as soon as it hits the expiration date, or do you tend to keep it for a while longer than that? Also, what are your favorite techniques for making your food last longer, either through preserving it or different recipes?
Let us know in the comments below.
This article first appeared on Nick’s health website AltHealthWORKS. You can read it in its entirety by clicking here.