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Arizonans waste $944 of food yearly due to label confusion, survey says

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX — The average Arizona household wastes $944 worth of food each year because it has gone past its expiration date, according to a survey conducted by a home remodeling firm.

Klein Kitchen & Bath asked 3,200 households how much food they throw away each month and compared it to government data on grocery spending.

The firm found that South Carolina households wasted the most at about $1,305 each year, while those in West Virginia wasted the least at about $405 each year.

Misunderstanding food labeling seemed to be a big factor in food waste, the firm said.

About half of respondents said they wouldn’t eat food past its sell-by date, even though that label only means it’s the last day it can be sold in a store.

The firm also found people were confused about the meaning of use-by and best-by dates, often getting them mixed up.

Many respondents said date labels should be removed from fruits and vegetables since it’s easy to tell if they’ve gone bad by touching or smelling them.

Respondents were most likely to throw away dairy products, followed by meat, fish, bread and vegetables.

The firm said people in all states can cut down on waste by freezing foods before their use-by date, extending herbs’ shelf life by placing them in water and using nearly expired yogurts and fruits in smoothies.

Good practices include using all parts of vegetables, including peels and stems, and donating foods that won’t be used.

“It seems we need to educate ourselves a little better on what we can eat and when,” Eric Klein from Klein Bath & Kitchen said in a press release.

“Just being familiar with the difference between, say, sell-by dates and use-by dates can help us be less wasteful.”

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