In a rare move, experts are encouraging people to use common sense rather than blindly following government edicts. Americans throw out 14% of the food we buy, and this is often unnecessary. Scott Hurd, director of the Food Risk Modeling and Policy Lab at Iowa State University explains that the FDA labels foods with "use by" or "expiration" dates based on food spoilage studies, but foods go bad at different times depending on how they're handled. "Officially I have to say, 'Don't use it after the use-by date,' but that's stupid. I use lots of food after the use-by date," says Hurd. It turns out the most reliable test may be your nose. "Spoilage bacteria" produces an odor, so whenever food starts smelling funky, throw it out.

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