Breakdown of how Virginians, North Carolinians could be wasting food

Posted at 7:42 AM, Feb 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-11 09:30:56-05

CHESAPEAKE, Va.-  Food waste is food that is never eaten and just thrown away.

Are you guilty of food waste? The FDA estimates that nearly forty-percent of all food in the United States goes uneaten. A new study shows Virginians waste $965 dollars worth of food a year. The average household in North Carolina wastes almost $915 dollars in food annually.

Food waste is bad for both the environment and it means you are throwing your hard earned money away.

The survey asked why families are throwing out so much food and the common reason is food labels are confusing. Almost fifty percent of people said they won't eat food past the "sell-by" date. The "sell-by" date label is a guide for stores, not an indication of when the food is no longer safe to eat.

"It's really important to look at the difference. sell by is really for us groceries to tell our customers how long it should be on our shelf. The use-by date is actually what you want to pay attention to at home. That's the focus on peak quality and use by. So use by is for you and sell by is for us," Kroger store leader Billy Milton said.

To know how long different foods are safe to eat past their "sale-by" or "use-by" date follow FDA guidelines.

"A lot of times at home when an item has a little bit of wilt on it we want to throw it away and that's not really necessary. I recommend smoothies, using it for stock for soups. There's a lot of ways around waste at home that we can be focused on as well as shopping smart," Milton said.