Think how many times you've checked a carton of milk or wedge of cheese in your fridge and saw that it had passed the date on the package. The typical response is to throw it away.
However, experts say the problem is often not with the food or beverage but with the system used for notifying consumers about the product's expiration date.
"Most people think expiration dates tell you when food is spoiled or unsafe," said Dana Gunders, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "In fact, what it usually tells you is the manufacturer's recommendation for when the food is at peak quality."
The reality, she told me, is that the...