Decoding The Secret Language Of Food Expiration Dates

Panera CEO learns about hunger on his food stamp diet

A girl joins her father and others in June in Los Angeles protesting a bill that would cut funding for SNAP, or food stamps.

How quickly spoiling occurs depends on the product and how its stored and handled. Canned goods last indefinitely if the can is not dented or damaged, even if the taste worsens. Enjoy-by date: Vague and kind of promotional, but similar to the use-by date. Freeze-by date: A reminder that freezing the product can extend shelf life. Milk, for instance, lasts one month in the freezer. Consumers need clearer language, Gunders argues, and for nonperishables this could mean printing the pack date and a phrase like maximum quality three months after pack date. Another option would be to suggest use of an item within a certain number of days after opening. For perishables that carry risk of causing people to get sick, products can be labeled unsafe to eat after a certain date. Whats more, the NRDC urges that the sell-by date, important only to retailers, should be hidden or coded so as not to confuse the consumer. Retailers tend to insist on clear visibility for restocking purposes. Any sweeping improvement to these labeling conventions is more likely to result from an effort by the food industry than by government regulators. As it stands, the Food and Drug Administration does not require food makers to print expired by, use by, or best before dates on any products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates meat, poultry, and certain egg products and requires a pack date for poultry and some eggs, according to the NRDC. Below the federal level, however, 41 states plus Washington, D.C., require date labels on some foods, along with some municipal-level rules. Jena Roberts, vice president for business development at the National Food Lab , says confusing labels arent the only cause of food waste.

It’s about living.” I believed at first that by taking the challenge to eat on $4.50 a day diet, I could raise awareness about hunger. What has become clear is that those who are “food insecure” — or even those living close to that edge — are all too aware of their circumstances. Helping the hungry is not a zero sum game. We can discuss policy, and undoubtedly each of us will land on one side or the other of the political debate. Unfortunately, the debate we often hear in Washington leads to thinking that the issue can be seen in black or white, right or wrong, good or bad. We all know there are people who abuse the system. I have no doubt that there are some people who accept SNAP benefits when they either don’t need the assistance or may not use them appropriately. But SNAP is really an efficient program. There are small problems with the system — but there always are in large, complex systems. Tens of millions of people, most of whom are elderly or have children, rely on this safety net to help them cope with very difficult situations beyond their control. And we can all acknowledge our shared responsibility to help these fellow citizens survive and ultimately create productive lives of dignity. Throughout my SNAP Challenge, I kept returning to the same questions: What kind of society do we want to live in? Do we want to live in a country that turns a cold shoulder to the problem of hunger, or one in which we work together to face it head on? We, in corporate America, must be part of the solution. At Panera, we have tried to stretch ourselves to think of how to address hunger in new ways and challenge others to do the same.

In 2010, the median home price for a house in the area was ten thousand dollars. I met Vicenta Delgado in the fall of 2011, while she was sitting on the curb waiting for the pantry on LeHigh Avenue to open. It was a chilly morning, and she was bundled up against the cold, her walker resting on the sidewalk beside her, wearing a dark headscarf over her bald head. Delgado, a sixty-one-year-old immigrant from Puerto Rico, told me that she had been undergoing chemotherapy to treat a brain tumor. She also had diabetes and high blood pressure, and had suffered from depression ever since her oldest son was killed. The health problems had taken a financial toll on her: she paid a three-dollar co-pay each time she filled a prescription; Medicaid didnt cover the nutritional supplement shakes that she needed because of her cancer, so she bought them herself; she had to pay a neighbor to drive her to the hospital for her treatments. And it was out of the question to stop paying her electricity bill: if her electricity got cut off, the machine that helped her breathe at nightshe suffered from sleep apneawouldnt work. Each month, Delgado said, she and her husband together received a little more than a thousand dollars from Social Security and thirty-four dollars in food stamps. She also received disability benefits. But this income was not nearly enough to fill her fridge and pay the bills. You go to the store with thirty-four dollars, you cant buy nothing, she told me.

Do you know fast food? ‘Kimmel’ tests fans with ‘Real or Fake Fast Food Items’ (Video)

The talk show host shared the latest trend of fast food items and gave the studio audience (as well as people watching at home) a quiz on how well fast food was known. With such a competitive market on getting people food fast, the restaurants have expanded their menus to offer bizarre foods. Sharing some real and fake products, the fans of the show had to guess if the item was actually on a menu or if Jimmy Kimmel made it up. Are fast food restaurant thinking of hilarious ways of killing us? asked Jimmy Kimmel on Wednesday night. Showing some real fast food the items were bizarre, but making everyone a little hungry. It seems like the stuff these fast food places are coming up with increasingly ridiculous items. The different items shown were both real and fake with Jimmy Kimmel revealing the answers after the guessing was finished. While some fans were shocked at all the different food available, everyone was thinking about the calories the food must have. Full of salt and sugar, its impossible to think the food late night fast food joints is even remotely healthy. Take a look at the video clip of Jimmy Kimmel sharing fast food items. Its amazing how food is being combined for the fast food restaurants. — Jodi Jill reports direct from Hollywood.

Packagers Meet Food Safety Challenges with SQF Certification

Markets close in 1 hr 10 mins Stock Watch Packagers Meet Food Safety Challenges with SQF Certification SCS Global Services’ Chip Wood Presents Steps to SQF Certification at Pack Expo 2013 Press Release: SCS Global Services 4 hours ago Print LAS VEGAS, Sept. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –In the wake of growing demand by retailers and major food brands, food packaging companies are stepping up their efforts to satisfy customers by seeking Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification . Speaking Tuesday at Pack Expo 2013, Chip Wood, Director of Food and Agriculture Business Development for SCS Global Services (SCS), described multiple factors driving food packagers toward this globally-recognized level of food safety certification, then walked the audience step-by-step through the process. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120827/MM63583LOGO ) “As the packaging industry gears itself up for SQF, the world’s most widely recognized Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) level certification, industry members should be well acquainted with the rigors of the program as well as the opportunities it represents,” Wood said. Citing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Wood identified the top four food problems deficient employee training, contamination of raw materials, poor plant and equipment sanitation, and poor plant design and construction. He then explained key components of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) , sweeping food safety legislation signed into law in 2011, and described how each of these components are addressed under the SQF program. “The FSMA’s formula of audits, prevention, compliance, and response is comprehensively addressed within SQF,” he said. “It provides a systematic approach to employee training, inspections, mandatory recalls, record access and administrative detention, product traceability, and laboratory testing.” In addition to new regulations and buyer specifications, he listed additional factors driving a growing number of food packaging companies to get SQF-trained and certified. These factors include growing awareness of the risks posed by food-borne illness, knowledge of the increased virulence of some pathogens, better detection capabilities, global supply chain issues, protection of reputation, and reduced quality assurance costs. According to Wood, SCS offers a full suite of SQF food safety services. These services include: fully-accredited SQF training; pre-certification exercises which enable companies to undergo mock audits and determine their readiness levels; an extensive SQF consultant network to help companies navigate the terrain; and top-level SQF auditing and certification covering all food categories. HACCP training classes specifically geared to the packaging industry are already being scheduled for early 2014. SCS Global Services (SCS) has been a global leader in third-party environmental and sustainability certification, auditing, testing and standards development for three decades. SCS programs span a wide cross-section of sectors, recognizing exemplary performance in natural resource management, green building, product manufacturing, food and agriculture, retailing and more. In addition to food products, SCS certifies sustainably grown cut flowers and plants. Media Contact: Diane Dulmage, SCS Global Services 510.452.8003