It's not you. Date labels on food make no sense.

  • Loading...
  • Published on:  Friday, June 22, 2018
  • Food labels don’t mean what you think they mean.

    Subscribe to our channel!

    When people clean out their fridge, they look at whatever date is on the label and throw it in the trash if it’s past that date. But the chances are that you’re throwing out tons of perfectly good food because date labels on food are often really confusing.

    Food labels can mean many different things and often don’t give you any indication of whether the food is safe to eat or not. Many people assume that they’re federally regulated, but baby formula is the only product required to have consistent date labels. For everything else it’s up to the states to decide.

    This creates a confusing state-by-state patchwork of labels with everything from “use by” to “freshest before” to “sell by” to “packaged on.”

    And all this confusion causes us to waste tons of food every year. All the uneaten food waste costs Americans over $200 billion each year, and two thirds of that comes from households.

    If we came up with a unified, easy to understand date label system we could save money, food, and help the environment, all just by changing how we put date labels on the things we eat. is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out

    Watch our full video catalog:
    Follow Vox on Facebook:
    Or Twitter:


  • Vox  (Jun 22, 2018)

    Expiration dates aren’t the only confusing part of food packaging. Here’s why the “natural” food label on so many grocery store items is meaningless:

  • BaddestBeast37  (Jul 28, 2018)

    no arkansas?

  • Detteermiig  (Jun 27, 2018)

    Janet Granzow eggs are better when not refrigerated though

  • Beary Boy  (Jun 22, 2018)

    If you have crème fraiche in your fridge long enough to forget what crème fraiche is it's probably not crème fraiche anymore

  • Grade Berkley  (Sep 25, 2018)

    Beary OM

  • turtletuc  (Aug 31, 2018)

    a molded cup of crème fraiche is the one thing I do throw away occasionally...

  • Van Hendrix  (Jun 22, 2018)

    Bees don't have to worry about that. Honey is best at all times

  • Trang Pham  (Nov 29, 2018)

    i always call my mom to confirm.

  • Miriam Rebekah Shapiro  (Jul 12, 2018)

    infinitude It’s still safe to eat though. To loosen the honey just run warm water over the bottle

  • Legendary King  (Jun 22, 2018)

    Damn straight! Unless it smells weird and/or looks moldy i throw it away or take that part out and still eat it

  • Angelic kristy Kumar  (Jun 28, 2018)

    I’m not even American yet I feel offended that people just stereotype this way. Just because you see an American throwing away food because they’re so “privileged” doesn’t mean all Americans do so. Some are actually very smart and resourceful I know a few Americans who recycle and reuse and use food without wasting or throwing away when it’s still good.

  • Jakub Karczmarczyk  (Jun 26, 2018)

    You're right but I wouldn't risk cutting out just a moldy part. This doesn't apply to a loaf of bread at least because as soon as you see a single mold, you should throw it all away

  • Carsla Peyton  (Jun 23, 2018)

    i always call my mom to confirm.

  • Anna Ryan  (Sep 6, 2018)

    My mom never throws anything out unless it’s moldy or tastes very sour

  • Emma Campbell  (Jun 27, 2018)

    Carsla Peyton SAME LMAO

  • Dank Matter  (Jun 22, 2018)

    I had to throw away cheetos because they were stale. I thought it expired but then I noticed a little hole. I hate whoever sabotaged me.

  • Sawyer Horton  (Jun 28, 2018)

    Congratulations, you played yourself

  • Angelic kristy Kumar  (Jun 28, 2018)

    Do any of you even realize the consequences your digestive system faces when you eat stale food? Please try your best not to I can see that stale chips might not be that bad on your stomach yet try to refrain from it especially with other foods that can poison you.

  • Sebastian Elytron  (Jun 22, 2018)

    This reminds me, I need to eat that three days past yogurt.

  • space lapis  (Jul 16, 2018)

    Caboose Rooster that’s sour cream

  • julie Wallis  (Jul 6, 2018)

    Sebastian Elytron I did an experiment in my own kitchen involving yoghurt. I discovered that my yoghurt was good for *over* 12 months! Since then I’ve never thrown yoghurt away for being out of date. I started with 6 Muller yoghurts which inadvertently expired, so I opened a new pot every so often, the penultimate one being 12 months and 6 weeks past it’s date, that one was good. They were no good after 15 months, and let’s face it, nobody keeps yoghurt that long.

  • Wealthbuilderz TV  (Jun 23, 2018)

    That’s funny i rarely look at labels I just use my nose

  • はゴミですAleks  (Jun 22, 2018)

    I just laughed really hard in the office at that 'forget about it!!! .....*sigh* I don't deserve love.' Moment

  • CrossfacePanda  (Jun 22, 2018)

    Leave it to America to overcomplicate everything, even simple stuff like expiration date labels...

  • she said  (Jun 27, 2018)

    It's called no one wants to get sued.

  • Borfameme BLOO  (Jun 26, 2018)

    Twist No no, I mean yes, but look it up people STILL believe in flat earth.