+Spencer Petersen tipped me off to this article.
Over the years we’ve lost track of what these labels meant in the first place. We’ve come to associate the dates with safety, when in fact, they’ve always been about freshness. As much as we might want them to, the dates on our food are not going to tell us if we’ll get salmonella or e-coli. Most date labels are arrived at by conducting taste tests. Does a product still taste good on day 4? Day 5?
Every day, workers at grocery stores and convenience stores in Montana carry out a sad ritual. They come in, check the “sell-by” dates on their milk and throw out any milk that’s past the date. Montana throws more milk down the drain than other states because the sell-by date on the milk is required by