Consumers often get confused by date labeling on food products, and end up either keeping spoiled food around too long, or throwing away perfectly good food unnecessarily — costing us billions of dollars, experts say.
In new a survey by the public health and safety organization NSF International, researchers found that people have trouble understanding and differentiating between common food label terms such as “expiration date,” “best if used by date” and “sell by date.”
Consequently, almost half of Americans do not throw away food until they see mold or color changes. And 17 percent of Americans say they just toss food when it starts to smell.
Failing to discard food on time may result in exposure to pathogens such as salmonella or E. coli. Those contaminants are especially dangerous to children under 5, elderly people and those whose immunity has been compromised by illnesses such as cancer or HIV.
At the same time, the authors of a review paper published this week in the journal Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety stressed that the lack of understanding of different date labeling terms may in fact encourage people to throw food away too soon and therefore contribute to food waste that is already a significant problem in developed countries.
The authors called for increased collaboration between food manufacturers and regulatory agencies to provide a better and more uniform food labeling system.
We are throwing away a third of our food (globally). The confusion over product labeling certainly contributes to the extent of food waste.
In the U.S. alone, about 133 billion pounds of food — almost a third of the total available at the retail and consumer level — is wasted each year, according to 2010 figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. That translates into an estimated $161.6 billion in retail value.
So what do consumers need to know about date labels on food?
– “Sell by date” is most important for retailers, telling them when they should take a product off the shelves. However, it does not mean that the food is no longer safe to eat.
–“Expiration date” means a product should not be eaten after the date listed; throw it out.
–“Best if used by date” refers to the quality of the product, not its safety. In short, it means that the product will maintain its maximum quality until that date, but it can still be safe to eat for a certain amount of time (depending on the kind of product) after the date has passed.
Source: CBSnews.com, 6-24-2014
How to make a great hamburger is a question that has bedeviled the nation for generations, for as long as Americans have had griddles and broilers, for as long as summertime shorts-wearing cooks have gone into the yard to grill. But the answer is simple, according to many of those who make and sell the […]
U.S. consumers already paying more for pork at the grocery store can expect more of the same; USDA predicts retail pork values will hit $4 a pound during the last half of 2014. Retail pork values computed from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service data indicate the computed per pound […]
Protein producers should see continued strong export and domestic demand for their products despite historically high prices, according to an industry analyst who sees strong supplies for chicken and pork in the next year.
There has been an upsurge in protein consumption in the American diet in the last several years, adding that there has been a relatively heavy concentration of meat-based items in new product activity. She also cites solid export demand, with combined broiler, pork and beef exports up 5.3 percent for 2014 – so far – compared with the corresponding period one year ago.
Looking ahead into 2015, it is believed that export demand will be pushed ahead even further if pork and chicken supplies show meaningful gains next year. The demand prospects look positive for U.S. protein producers because key competitors in export markets are either struggling with constrained supplies or disease, including bird flu and PEDv. Lower feed prices should also help U.S. producers boost their competitive positions.
Source: meatingplace.com, 6-20-2014
Saval Foodservice’s 11th Annual Charity Golf Tournament benefiting the Children’s Cancer Foundation took place on June 17th, 2014. Once again, it was our honor and pleasure to host this great event and contribute to the Children’s Cancer Foundation. They have given over 33.6 million dollars in grants and have touched and helped so many young […]
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This summer, U.S. consumers can look forward to opening a cold beer, firing up the grill and throwing on the most expensive pork chop they have ever purchased.
A deadly disease has spread to more than 4,700 U.S. hog operations and that number is growing by as much as 200 every week, U.S. Agriculture Secretary said yesterday at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa. The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PED, has killed about 8 million pigs since the outbreak began in May 2013.
The spreading virus sent retail pork-chops to an all-time high of $4.044 a pound in April, and the American Farm Bureau Federation has said that meat expenses are going to keep climbing. Costs are rising before the start of the seasonal peak in U.S. meat demand, as a shrinking cattle herd sent ground beef to a record, while whole chickens are near the highest ever.
People are going to have to pay up for this summer’s barbecues, because of the current supply issues. People are going to eat more meat during the summer grilling season, so it’s fair to say that they are going to pay higher prices.
Hog futures for July delivery gained 46 percent this year to $1.24975 a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 commodities advanced 2.3 percent. The MSCI All-Country World Index of equities rose 4.4 percent. The Bloomberg Treasury Bond Index climbed 2.9 percent.
The virus, which can be 100 percent fatal to young piglets, has trimmed the U.S. hog herd by about 10 percent. The speed of its spread is of deep concern, and some farms are seeing incidences of reinfection, he said during a presentation at the expo.
For a hog producer in Branch County, Michigan, a PED outbreak on his farm in March caused him to lose about 1,500 pigs. To defend his herd, he disinfected everything that touched the barn floor, including workers’ boots and feed-cart wheels. And while he considers himself fortunate that he was able to contain the disease within about three weeks, he’s watching closely for reinfection.
This year’s rally for hog futures may just be a “temporary” reaction to the disease, and prices could fall from here, said the National Securities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is pledging $26.2 million to help producers combat the disease.
The number of weekly cases of the virus peaked in mid-February at 315, according to data from the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, which tracks voluntary reports from veterinary diagnostic laboratories. New outbreaks have since dropped by more than 50 percent, with 142 cases reported in the week ended May 31.
Higher animal weights are also helping to buoy pork supplies. Hog carcasses averaged 219.95 pounds (99.8 kilograms) on June 4, more than 14 pounds heavier than a year earlier, government data show.
The industry does not yet have the virus under control, and cases of infection may start to climb at a faster pace later this year as temperatures cool. The virus is believed to survive better in the winter. Hog slaughter may drop as much as 10 percent in the third quarter.
Consumers will pay as much as 4 percent more for pork this year, and costs for beef and veal will rise as much as 6.5 percent, the most of any food group, the USDA forecasts. There’s no relief for protein eaters, and record prices for beef probably won’t let up for the next 18 months.
The USDA has yet to identify the cause of PED in the U.S., making it harder to eradicate. On one farm in Montgomery, Minnesota, the hog barns are only about one-third full after a supplier of young pigs saw its animals struck by the disease.
We’re looking at much lighter pig numbers. It’s a challenging family of viruses. The question in many minds is how did it get here? That means so much more for dealing with these in the future.
Source: businessweek.com, 6-5-2014
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