Scott Nash, ate expired food for a year to try proving that expiration dates are meaningless.
“Canned goods, good in jars and bottles, goods that can’t possibly go bad, these all have dates on them that are—that create tons of waste, literally,” he explained.
Nash is the owner and founder of Mom’s Organic Market, a chain of 19 grocery stores in the Northeast U.S. He started the expired food by chance.
“I have a cabin and I went there in the spring. I didn’t go back there again until the fall,” he said. “And I needed a yogurt. There was a yogurt in there, I open it up, and it looked good, smelled good. I threw it in my smoothie, and all went well.”
Nash then started to do this with other foods like meat and heavy cream and eggs and ultimately decided to try an ongoing experiment because he had seen a lot of food wasted in the past due to expiration dates.
A 2016 survey found that 84% of consumers throw out food at least occasionally due to expiration dates.
“If you want to reduce food waste, probably the easiest and the by far most impactful way to do it is to get smart food dating,” Nash said. “I mean we have ‘use by, best by, expires on, best if used by, freeze by,’ I mean there’s so many dates out there, and again none of ‘em—hardly any [of them] address food safety, they’re confusing, and even the dates they have are not rooted in reality as to when a product might lose quality or go bad.”
Nash believes a smarter food dating system would help the U.S. drastically reduce food waste.