Food waste is a problem in the United States and it doesn’t have to do with “cleaning your plate.” According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “wasted food is the single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills” with evidence that much of that food was never prepared.
So, this isn’t food that was scraped from the plate or the little bit of leftovers that never got eaten. It is unprepared food such a produce that went bad, or unopened food items that are past the date on the package and are tossed based on the faulty assumption that the food is no longer good or even safe to consume.
Dates on food packages such as sell-by, use-by and best-by are not terms that represent safety or even food expiration. The only food product that has a true expiration or use-by date, as required by law, is infant formula. For all other cases, food manufacturers add the dates voluntarily and it is related to food quality or freshness.