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Americans toss out 40 percent of food over label confusion

Confusion about expiration dates on foods has become an expensive problem, leading to millions of pounds of perfectly good products going to waste.

 According to a new study from Harvard University and the National Resources Defense Council, misconceptions about food labels lead to about 40 percent of the nation’s food supply being unused. (Via KHOU)

KSDK reports nearly 90 percent of Americans might be throwing out food early because they think it could be unsafe or has gone bad — costing the average family of four more than $1,300 a year.

One of the main reasons — confusion about what the expiration dates on foods like milk and yogurt really mean. Many people are throwing foods out once they hit those dates.

KTVI notes many foods are still good to eat for about a week after their labeled expiration dates. And as Time reports, many other foods stay safe to eat after even longer.

“Eggs, for example, can be consumed three to five weeks after purchase, even though the ‘use by’ date is much earlier. A box of mac-and-cheese stamped with a ‘use by’ date of March 2013 can still be enjoyed on March 2014, most likely with no noticeable changes in quality.”

Specifically, expiration dates don’t mean food is rotten or inedible. The study shows those dates actually tell us when food has passed its “peak freshness.” (Via Fox News)

The National Resources Defense Council, which did the study with Harvard’s Food Law and Policy Clinic, recommends the label system undergo a bit of a facelift because the dates on labels often confuse consumers.

Many people don’t realize the difference between “sell by” and “best by” dates. Federal guidelines are already in place for food labels, but dozens of states have their own rules which leads to inconsistencies nationwide.

The study shows that if foods looks or smells bad then you should obviously throw it away, but it doesn’t hurt to eat it a couple days after the labeled “best by” date.

- See more at Newsy.com

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  • One day after the mass shooting at a Florida high school, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin told a radio host he believes the “culture of death that is being celebrated” in violent video games and movies was the trigger for the violence that led to the deaths of 17 students and teachers. Bevin, in an interview with radio host Leland Conway, said violent video games that glorify murdering people and even allow players to rack up points for showing less compassion was at the core of the increasing number of attacks on schools, churches and concerts. >> Read more trending news 'There are video games that, yes, are listed for mature audiences, but kids play them and everybody knows it, and there's nothing to prevent the child from playing them,' Bevin told Conway. 'They celebrate the slaughtering of people. There are games that literally replicate and give people the ability to score points for doing the very same thing that these students are doing inside of schools, where you get extra points for finishing someone off who's lying there begging for their life.' It is not the first time Bevin has called out the makers of video games where players score points for killing. In January in Bevin’s own state, a 15-year-old boy killed two classmates and injured 14. After the shooting at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky, Bevin posted an 11-minute video on Facebook where he said violent videos were a “cultural problem” that sparked the incident. 'We are desensitizing young people to the actual tragic reality and permanency of death,' Bevin said. 'This is a cultural problem.' After the shootings at Marjory Stonehouse Douglas High School last week, Bevin stepped up his attack, calling out other cultural influences such as music, television and movies, slamming them for violent lyrics or plots. 'Why do we need a video game, for example, that encourages people to kill people?' Bevin said. 'Whether it's lyrics, whether it's TV shows, whether it's movies, I'm asking the producers of these products, these video games and these movies, ask yourselves what redemptive value, other than shock value, other than the hope you'll make a couple of bucks off it. At what price? At what price?' Bevin isn’t the only one speaking out against violent video games. Others have pointed to such games as inspiration for similar attacks. But is there evidence that links playing violent games with taking a rifle and shooting people at a high school or some other venue? The psychological community is split.  A study by researchers at the University of York in York, England, found no evidence that adults who play violent video games were any more likely to commit a violent act then those who do not play the games. The study of 3,000 participants released in January showed the games do not “necessarily increase aggression in game players. The York study also examined the realism of the games and whether that had an effect on the way players later acted. They looked at games that used characters that moved and reacted as a human would, not just an animated character. Researchers concluded that “there is no link between these kinds of realism in games and the kind of effects that video games are commonly thought to have on their players.” The York researchers pointed out in their conclusions that the tests were conducted on adults. 'We also only tested these theories on adults, so more work is needed to understand whether a different effect is evident in children players.' A 2015 study by the American Psychological Association contradicts the York study in part. The APA study found that playing violent video games is linked to increased aggression in players, but that there is “insufficient evidence” to link game playing with criminal violence or delinquency. Those conducting the study stressed that while an increase in aggression was seen in the subjects of the study, the games’ effect on certain people with certain risk factors needs to be studied further. “We know that there are numerous risk factors for aggressive behavior,” said Mark Appelbaum, the chairman of the task force that conducted the study. “What researchers need to do now is conduct studies that look at the effects of video game play in people at risk for aggression or violence due to a combination of risk factors. For example, how do depression or delinquency interact with violent video game use?” A study of 105 Canadian teenagers – boys and girls – found that the teens that spent more than three hours a day playing violent video games were in danger of delayed emotional development . Mirjana Bajovic, the author of the study, noted that not all the teens playing violent games showed a delay in emotional development, and that no correlation existed between the level of emotional development and those who played nonviolent games. Bajovic did note that the time spent playing those games was the main factor in influencing “empathic behavior and tendencies. A study published in Psychological Science led researchers to conclude that for some, assuming an identity in a video game can have real-world impact. Researchers asked 200 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to choose to be either a villain or a hero in a video game, and what they saw was an impact in levels of consideration in the students. “Our results indicate that just five minutes of role-play in virtual environments as either a hero or a villain can easily cause people to reward or punish anonymous strangers,” said Gunwoo Yoon, lead author of the study. The students were given the choice to serve chocolate sauce to a stranger or to serve hot chili sauce. Researchers found that those who chose to play the hero – in this case, cartoon character Superman – would serve chocolate to the stranger. Those who assumed the villain role – Voldemort from the Harry Potter novels – would serve the chili sauce.  The choices from the students were measured after as little as five minutes of playing the games.   
  • The White House on Monday signaled that President Donald Trump is willing to back at least one bipartisan measure to strengthen the national instant check system for those who buy firearms, as Democrats in the House and Senate continued to argue that action by the Congress on gun violence is long overdue. “While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the President is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. In a written statement sent to reporters, Sanders said the President spoke to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on Friday; the Texas Republican has a bipartisan bill with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), which would force states and federal agencies to submit more information into the instant gun check system. Our churches and schools should be refuges where children and parents feel secure. Many of these shootings can be prevented. There's no reason not to advance #FixNICS to help https://t.co/0JpZDiLPOr — Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) February 15, 2018 Interesting morning. Two quick thoughts: 1/ Trump's support for the FixNICS Act, my bill with @JohnCornyn, is another sign the politics of gun violence are shifting rapidly. 2/ No one should pretend this bill alone is an adequate response to this epidemic. — Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 19, 2018 After a mass shooting last November in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 25 people died, the Air Force acknowledged that the killer – who received a ‘bad conduct’ discharge from the military – should not have been able to buy guns, but those records were never placed in the instant check system. “For years agencies and states haven’t complied with the law, failing to upload these critical records without consequence,” Cornyn said in November when he introduced this bipartisan gun measure.” Democrats had hoped there would be action on that measure – just like they had hoped there would have been action to ban “bump stocks” after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, action on the “No Fly, No Buy” measure after the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting, and then the “FixNics” bill after the Texas shooting. I know assault rifles. I carried one in Iraq. They have no place on America's streets. #Orlando pic.twitter.com/ibKQE2PpqF — Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) June 14, 2016 Last week’s shooting in Florida simply put all of those requests for legislation to deal with guns on repeat for Democrats. “We can’t ignore the issues of gun control that this tragedy raises,” said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). “And so, I’m asking – no, demanding – we take action now.” Democrats would certainly like to do much more than the ‘FixNics’ bill, or banning bump stocks, as other ideas have popped up in recent days, like not allowing anyone under age 21 to buy weapons like an AR-15. But as the President returned to Washington on Monday evening from a long weekend at his Florida retreat, it wasn’t clear if his support for one bipartisan plan would actually mean action – as GOP leaders have not put such measures on the fast track to a vote in the House and Senate. On Sunday, when the President met with House Speaker Paul Ryan in Florida, the two men discussed a series of issues, including “the recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida.” The White House statement on their meeting did not characterize whether legislative action was discussed. No action will happen on anything gun-related this week – as the Congress won’t be back on Capitol Hill for votes until February 26.
  • The family that took in suspected school shooter Nikolas Cruz after his adoptive mother died suddenly last year said that, although the 19-year-old was troubled, it was unaware of any red flags to hint beforehand that he planned to carry out last week’s deadly attack. >> Read more trending news Cruz opened fire Wednesday on students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in what police believe was a preplanned attack, authorities said last week. The shooting left 14 students and three teachers dead. More than a dozen other people were injured. “We knew he had troubles and a couple of issues, but I’ve raised three boys, and I thought we could help,” James Snead told The New York Times on Sunday. “It’s a very selfish thing he did -- aside from the families he hurt, he hurt the family that tried to help him and give him a chance.” >> Related: Florida school shooting: What we know about the victims James Snead and his wife, Kimberly Snead, told the Times that they took in Cruz after their son, who knew Cruz from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, asked if he could move in with them. Cruz had been staying with a friend of his mother’s after she died Nov. 1 of pneumonia, according to the Times. “We didn’t know he had such an evil past,” James Snead told the Times. “We just didn’t know.” >> Related: FBI didn't investigate tip about Nikolas Cruz before deadly school shooting School records obtained by WPLG showed Cruz had a lengthy disciplinary record beginning in 2012, when he was in middle school. He faced disciplinary action five times while attending Marjory Stoneman Douglas High from January 2016 to February 2017, WPLG reported. School administrators in January 2017 recommended a threat assessment be done for Cruz after an alleged assault, according to WPLG. Details on that incident were not immediately available, although James Snead told the Times that Cruz had to leave school because of fighting. >> Related: Classmate of Nikolas Cruz says ‘No one has ever been a friend to him’ The Sneads said Cruz was struggling with depression stemming from his mother’s death but that he appeared to be doing better, according to the Times. The couple had planned to have him see a counselor this week. They said in an appearance on “Good Morning America” that they saw Cruz at the police station Wednesday when he was brought in after his arrest. “I went after him,” Kimberly Snead said. “I wanted to strangle him more than anything.” She said she yelled, “Really, Nik? Really?” Cruz mumbled something in response. “He said he was sorry,” Kimberly Snead told “Good Morning America.” “I was furious. Heartbroken. Devastated. I still can’t process it, what he’s done. This wasn’t the person we knew. Not at all.” >> Related: Florida school shooting: Teacher of the year's emotional Facebook post goes viral James Snead said the family has gone through “a roller coaster of emotions” since learning of Cruz’s alleged role in Wednesday’s massacre. 'It's still tough. We're still hurting. We're still grieving,' he said on “Good Morning America.” 'Everything everybody seems to know, we didn't know.” FBI officials said they investigated a comment made last year on YouTube by a user who was going by the name “Nikolas Cruz.” “The comment simply said, ‘I’m going to be a professional school shooter,’” Rob Lasky, the FBI special agent in charge of the agency’s Miami division, said Thursday. Authorities were unable to verify the identity of the poster. FBI officials also admitted last week that the agency failed to properly forward a tip about Cruz wanting to kill people to agents in Miami, prompting Gov. Rick Scott to call for the resignation of FBI Director Christopher Wray. The FBI is investigating the incident.
  • Peter Wang died proudly wearing his gray JROTC uniform, holding open doors so several of his classmates could escape the gunfire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week.  Though those classmates made it, Peter did not. And now, a White House petition has been established seeking full military honors at the burial of the 15-year-old freshman who was among 17 people killed in the Valentine’s Day school shooting. As of Monday morning, the petition had reached just over 23,000 signatures. A petition must reach 100,000 signatures to get a response from the White House.  The petition states that Peter was last seen, in uniform, holding doors open so that other students, teachers and staff members could escape. “His selfless and heroic actions have led to the survival of dozens in the area,” the petition states. “Wang died a hero, and deserves to be treated as such, and deserves a full honors military burial.” Friends of the teen said they want people to know how selfless he was, according to WPLG News 10 in Pembroke Park.  “I want people to know that he died a hero; that he died saving many people,” friend and classmate Aiden Ortiz told the news station.  His selflessness extended into his everyday actions, classmate Rachel Kuperman said. She recalled the last time she saw Peter, the day before he was slain.  “I forgot my lunch that day, and he went to the vending machine with me and he bought me Sprite and candy and snacks,” Rachel said. “He put others before himself.” Fox News reported that it would take government intervention for Peter to receive a military funeral, since JROTC does not provide basic training and thus does not count as military service. JROTC, or the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, is a federal program for middle and high school students that focuses on citizenship, service to the community and country and personal achievement.   Peter was not the only JROTC cadet credited with springing into action that day. Colton Haab, a junior at Stoneman Douglas, heard gunshots and ushered several dozen people into the JROTC room. >> Read more trending news There, he and other cadets grabbed Kevlar sheets used for marksmanship practice and held them up in front of the students huddled together. “We took those sheets and we put them in front of everybody so they weren’t seen, because they were behind a solid object and the Kevlar would slow the bullet down,” Colton told CNN the day after the shooting. “I didn’t think it was going to stop it, but it would definitely slow it down to make it from a catastrophic to a lifesaving thing.” Peter’s cousin, Aaron Chen, described him to the Miami Herald as brave, while Peter’s best friend, Gabriel Ammirata, said he was “funny, nice and a great friend.” “He’s been my best friend since third grade,” Gabriel told the Herald.  Gabriel planned to celebrate Chinese New Year with Peter the day after the shooting at the Chinese restaurant Peter’s family owns, the Herald reported. Instead, he and members of Peter’s family started the new day frantically searching for information on Peter’s whereabouts.  The teen’s parents speak Mandarin and very little English.  Jesse Pan, a neighbor of Peter’s, has been sharing information about him and his funeral arrangements on social media. Peter’s family has a funeral planned for Tuesday at Kraeer Funeral Home, in Coral Springs. An obituary on the funeral home’s website reiterates Peter’s ultimate sacrifice in the face of danger. “He loved being in the JROTC and planned on attending (the) United States Military Academy at West Point,” the obituary read.  Peter loved the Houston Rockets, hip-hop music, playing basketball and spending time with friends. He also aspired to become a world-renowned chef.  He is survived by his parents and two younger brothers. A GoFundMe page created to help his family with expenses exceeded its $15,000 goal in just three days.  Originally, proceeds (were) going to the help with misc. expenses, but the family has decided that they want to donate the money to Stoneman Douglas for their ROTC program,” the page creator, Chino Leong, wrote. “They want to ensure that future generations of kids are taught the same values that the program has instilled in Peter.”
  • A Florida man spurred by the massacre that killed 17 people at a Parkland high school last week has “put (his) money where (his) mouth is” and surrendered his assault rifle to authorities. Ben Dickmann, 40, wrote on Friday, in a Facebook post that has since gone viral, that he decided to lead by example. “I own this rifle,” Dickmann wrote, sharing multiple photos of the semiautomatic AR-57 as he turned it in at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s a caliber variant of the AR-15.” The suspected gunman in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, former student Nikolas Cruz, is accused of using an AR-15 to gun down 14 students and three faculty members on Valentine’s Day.  “I am a responsible, highly-trained gun owner. (I am not a police officer or sheriff’s deputy),” Dickmann wrote. “However, I do not need this rifle.” Dickmann wrote that no one without a police badge needs an AR-57. “This rifle is not a ‘tool’ I have use for. A tool, by definition, makes a job/work easier,” Dickmann wrote. “Any ‘job’ I can think of legally needing doing can be done better by a different firearm.” Dickmann wrote that, although he enjoyed shooting the weapon, he has other types of guns that he can shoot for recreation. He could have sold the rifle, he wrote, but “no person needs this.” “I will be the change I want to see in this world,” Dickmann wrote. “If our lawmakers will continue to close their eyes and open their wallets, I will lead by example. #outofcirculation.” Officials with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office praised Dickmann for his decision. “We commend Ben for helping us get one more dangerous weapon off the streets,” a post on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page read. The post also offered two ways for the public to turn in an unloaded, unwanted weapon. A citizen can call the department’s non-emergency line, 954-765-HELP, and inform a deputy that they have a weapon to surrender for destruction.  “Leave the firearm in a location away from you in the home/business, allowing the responding deputy to retrieve it when they arrive,” the post read. “The deputy will take possession of the weapon (and) ammunition for disposal.” The second way to turn the weapon in is to secure the gun in the trunk of a vehicle and drive to the nearest Sheriff’s Office substation. After parking in the visitors’ lot, a citizen can go inside and tell the deputy at the desk that he or she has a firearm and/or ammunition in the vehicle for surrender.  “A deputy will meet with you and retrieve the weapon from your vehicle for disposal,” the post read.  Dickmann, who lives about 30 minutes from Parkland in Fort Lauderdale, told NPR in an interview that the decision to give up his assault rifle came after “a lot of soul searching.” He said that, like others, he sees a lot of “thoughts and prayers” being offered, but not much else. “I thought, ‘Well, this is something I can do that I think is right,” Dickmann said. “And it’s something I can do that might spark a change. You know, my whole goal was maybe to inspire one friend on my Facebook page to do the same thing. And maybe that friend would inspire one other person.” Dickmann said he considered taking action after the Las Vegas shooting, but thought that his gun was not hurting anyone sitting in his gun safe. The Stoneman Douglas massacre, however, hit close to home.  He said response to a Facebook post he wrote the day after the school shooting is what spurred that action. In that long post, Dickmann wrote that it was past time to do something about the mass violence undertaken with firearms in the United States. >> Read more trending news “I can now say I know people who have been directly affected by three of the most horrific gun violence events in our history (Northern Illinois University, Las Vegas, Stoneman Douglas), and a couple more single events,” he wrote. “This makes me sick. This makes me mad. I’m tired.” In the Northern Illinois University shooting, which took place 10 years to the day before the Stoneman Douglas massacre, former NIU student Steven Kazmierczak walked onto the stage in an auditorium where class was taking place and gunned down five students before killing himself. More than a dozen more were injured.  Commenters on Dickmann’s post, who numbered in the thousands, varied in their responses. Some thought he spoke common sense, while others accused him of being a paid lackey for the anti-gun crowd.  Dickmann told NPR that it was sarcasm from one man who told him, “Well, if you feel this way, why don’t you go turn your gun in?” The man even offered to drive Dickmann to the station.  “Even though he was being extremely sarcastic about it because he’s a very staunch conservative, gun rights activist person, it kind of spurred me to say, ‘You know what? Yeah, I’ll do that,’” he said.  Dickmann said he’s glad that his actions sparked a debate. “I hope somebody, be it the students, be it the next generation, picks up the torch and does something,” he said. 

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