woman looking at groceries at the supermarket. woman looking at groceries at the supermarket. At least $1 trillion worth of food is wasted annually in the U.S. alone. (Photo: anucha maneechote/Shutterstock)

What do those food expiration dates really mean? Not much, CEO says

And he's got a new technique to help you figure out when your food will actually go bad.

How much food have you thrown out because it was past the expiration date?

How many times have you debated with your spouse, child, parent or roommate about whether the food is safe to eat?

What do those arbitrary dates really mean, anyway?

Apparently, not much. That's according to Yoav Levy, CEO of Freshpoint, a startup out of Haifa, Israel. The company has developed a new technique for determining how fresh your food really is. He says traditional food labels use out-of-date, inaccurate information to determine freshness, and that's resulting in literally a trillion dollars worth of food waste.

Many Londoners have tried to become more conscious of how wasteful they are. Food waste is a major problem around the world, and the U.S. is one of the biggest offenders. (Photo: John Li/Getty Images)

Levy co-founded the startup with Dr. Yoav Eichen, a chemistry professor at the Technion Institute in Israel. Their technology is called a Time Temperature Indicator, or TTI.

Essentially, the technology adds a layer of accuracy to food shelf life that traditional manufacturers don't use: temperature. The indicators are designed to show the true shelf life of the products they are monitoring. They can be calibrated to suit all foods and beverages, from produce to dairy to baked goods.

TTI food labels TTI labels show red if the food is spoiled and green if it's fresh. (Photo: FreshPoint)

Most expiration dates only take into consideration the calendar – here's the date the product was packaged and therefore here's the date it will expire. But FreshPoint also takes into account the temperature. An item stored in a refrigerator, for example, will last longer than one merely stored at room temperature. The company produces labels with the technology built right in, Levy said, and that track the product's temperature from the time it leaves the warehouse. The labels include color-coded dots to show whether the product is safe or spoiled, so both consumers and manufacturers benefit.

At least one major American company is using the labels, though Levy wouldn't disclose which one.

Watch the video below to see how the technology works:


Photos and SlideshowsPhotos and Slideshows

Related Topics: Food News