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Podcast

Episode 95 • Food Waste

95

Expiration date

Expire

Rotten

Toss

Salvage

Story

Boyfriend: Honey, are you hungry? Should I start making dinner?
Girlfriend: Yeah, but I think we need to order something.
BF: Why? We have some stuff. Let’s get creative with what we have in the fridge.
GF: There’s nothing in the fridge, trust me.
BF: What are you talking about? We’ve got… Look at that! Eggs and zucchini. We could make an omelet.
GF: Have you checked the expiration date on the eggs?
BF: Yes, it says February 13th.
GF: Okay, so that means they expired two weeks ago.
BF: Alright then. I could make a zucchini salad, perhaps?
GF: Have you seen those zucchini?
BF: Yeah, why?
GF: They’re rotten!
BF: They look fine to me!
GF: Look at that part. It’s white. It’s not supposed to be white. Just toss them, please. It’s disgusting.
BF: No, no, no, no. We can still salvage this. Look. We just need to cut off this part [chopping sound], and this part [chopping sound], okay, maybe this part too [chopping sound], yeah, definitely this part [chopping sound], okay, yeah, let’s order some food.

Questions

You guys, this could be the exact same conversation I have pretty much every day with my boyfriend.

Expiration date

'Have you checked the expiration date on the eggs?'

• What does the expiration date tell you about a product? The date when it was made, or the date before which you need to consume it?

The expiration date is the date before which you need to consume it. You have to eat that certain food before that date theoretically.

• Does all food come with an expiration date on it?

No, not all foods. Things like milk, eggs, pasta, these types of food, even meat, fish, they will sometimes have, actually, I think all the time have an expiration date on them, but things like fruit and vegetables, it depends. If they’re fresh, meaning they haven’t been pre-cut and pre-packaged, then, if you just buy two tomatoes, you don’t have an expiration date. It’s just up to you. It’s common sense. You look at the tomatoes and you see if they’re still good. You eat them. If they’re not good, you don’t eat them, but no, not all foods come with an expiration date on them.

• Do you check the expiration date before buying food at the supermarket?

Yes. I think it depends on the food. If there’s things that I know I will have to consume pretty fast, for example, soft cheese or meat, these kinds of things, yes, I will definitely check to see when the expiration date is, but if there are things like pasta or, I don’t know, rice or even cookies, these kinds of things usually, I know we will eat them pretty fast, especially the cookies. No, so I don’t check the expiration date on them.

Expire

'That means they expired two weeks ago.'

• If food has expired, can it still be eaten?

My boyfriend is going to tell you that yes. I am going to tell you my version, which is if food has expired, you’re not supposed to eat it. Now, if something like meat has expired, don’t eat it. The same with eggs or milk. Just stay away from them, but if it’s something like pasta, then I think you can still consume it in the following few days or even weeks.

• Do you sometimes eat food even though it has expired?

I don’t. My boyfriend does that all the time. I don’t know how he never gets sick. If I know that something has expired, even if it looks fine but I see on the label that it has expired, then it’s a big no-no for me. Just my boyfriend can have it. I’m going to have something else.

Rotten

'They're rotten.'

• How does rotten food look? Delicious or disgusting?

Rotten food looks disgusting.

• Think of some of the most popular foods. What do they look like when they’re rotten?

In the story we talked about vegetables. Vegetables, I think depending on the vegetables, they tend to turn maybe white, they get this little fuzz on them, but if it’s meat, when it’s rotten, first of all, it smells terribly and then the color changes so it’s going to be– I think it gets really dark. I don’t know because usually, I throw it away or I eat it before it becomes rotten. Definitely, some pretty disgusting things happen to foods when they are rotten. Think of apples. Apples tend to turn completely brown, they get really soft, and ugh, just think about it. You should see my face.

• Do you have any food in your fridge that’s rotten?

I’m not entirely sure. I usually– My boyfriend doesn’t know. I clean out the fridge and everything that I think is rotten or that has expired, I will throw out. Right now, I don’t know. I think we may have some peppers in there and I have no idea how long they have been in there and I don’t want to know, and I think they may be rotten, but just the thought of seeing them is disgusting to me. I think they’re going to stay in my fridge for a little while longer and we’ll see when I find the courage to actually throw them out.

Toss

'Just toss them, please. It's disgusting.'

• If you toss something, where do you put it? In the fridge or in the garbage?

If you toss something, you put it in the garbage because tossing, in this case, is a synonym for throwing away.

• Why would you toss food?

I think the only reason why you would ever toss food is because it has expired. It’s no longer good, maybe it’s rotten, there’s something wrong with it. I guess you could toss food if you tried something and you really, really didn’t like it. I’m trying to think if that’s happened to me. It probably has, to be honest with you, but normally, you toss food because it has expired.

• When was the last time you had to toss some food because it was no longer good?

I think it was probably a few days ago. We had one eggplant in the fridge that we had bought a while ago and we hadn’t used it and I could see that it was starting to shrink, and I didn’t want it to get too gross before I had to toss it. I finally, when my boyfriend wasn’t looking, I just took it and put it in the trash very, very quickly. I think the last time I tossed something food-wise, it was that poor eggplant.

Salvage

'No, no, no, no, we can still salvage this.'

• What can be salvaged? Good food or food that’s about be thrown away?

If you salvage something that will be, in this case, food that’s about to be thrown away, you were going to toss it, you were going to throw it away, but no, you decide to salvage it.

• If you salvage some food, what do you do with it? Eat it or throw it away?

If you salvage some food, you eat it. Even though it was about to be thrown away, you don’t throw it away and you find a way to eat it. It can be either by, I don’t know, getting creative with it. Maybe you didn’t know what to do with the potatoes that you had left but you find a way to use them so you don’t have to throw them away or you can just like in the story, maybe you have a piece of fruit or some vegetables that don’t look great anymore, but maybe by cutting some parts off, you can still salvage it and you can still eat it so you don’t have to throw away the whole thing.

• Do you often salvage food that’s supposed to be thrown out?

I’m sorry to say that. I know it’s really bad, but I’m trying to be honest with you guys. If I know that something has expired or if a piece of fruit or some vegetables don’t look great, I usually tend to throw them out. My boyfriend is different. He tries to salvage anything even if it’s completely rotten, he’ll still say, “No, no, but we can cook something with this.” I think he’s a little better with that than me. I don’t salvage food very often, unfortunately.

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