11 Foods You're Throwing Out Way Too Soon

Stop throwing away your money.. and your food.

As part of HuffPost’s “Reclaim” project, HuffPost Taste will focus the entire month of July on simple ways you can reduce food waste in your own home.


In the U.S. alone, billions of pounds of food get thrown out every year just due to expiration date confusion. According to a study by Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic, 91 percent of people have thrown away perfectly good food based on the sell-by date out of concern for food safety.

That’s a whole lot of very unnecessary food waste.

The thing is, the sell-by date doesn’t mean a food’s expired after the printed day. The sell-by date, according to the USDA, is meant to tell the store how long it should display the product for sale. And those dates are generally not federally regulated ― they’re set by manufacturers. A lot of food is completely safe to eat weeks, if not months, after the sell-by date.

Similarly, best-by and use-by dates don’t indicate expiration, either. They’re set by the manufacture to indicate the last date a product will be at peak quality.

Using research primarily conducted from U.S. government agencies, as well as directly contacting food manufacturers, the site Still Tasty has put a lot of research into finding out just how long our favorite foods are actually safe to eat. Here are 11 examples of everyday foods that are safe past what is generally believed ― and that you might be throwing out unnecessarily.

Butter, Opened Or Unopened
Rachel Husband via Getty Images
Eggs, Fresh, Raw And Still In The Shell
Adam Berry via Getty Images
Good for 3-5 weeks after purchase, even if sell-by date expires before then.
Yogurt, Opened Or Unopened
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Milk, Opened Or Unopened
Simon Murrell via Getty Images
Cream Cheese In Unopened Foiled Package
Bacon, Still Sealed In Package
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Parmesan, Commercially Grated And Packaged
Shutterstock / Brittny
Cheddar Cheese, Sliced Or Shredded In Unopened Package
Tom Grill via Getty Images
Hot Dogs, Sealed
Marilyn Conway via Getty Images
Feta Cheese Crumbles, Unopened Package
Maximilian Stock Ltd. via Getty Images
White Rice
Monkey Business Images via Getty Images
This stuff keeps FOREVER!
Take Action Now
Join thousands of Americans calling on Walmart to help reduce food waste by mounting a comprehensive campaign to sell "ugly" fruit and vegetables.
Sign the petition at Change.org

Language in the petition embedded in this entry has been updated to reflect Walmart’s recent efforts to sell some “ugly” produce in the U.S.

More Stories Like This:

Before You Go

Imperfect Produce

Companies That Fight Food Waste

Popular in the Community


HuffPost Shopping’s Best Finds