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VOA慢速英语:通过改变“最佳食用日期”来减少食物浪费

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中英对照 听力原文

Each food product in the United States must show a "best before" date on its container.

美国的每种食品都必须在其包装上标明“最佳食用日期”。

The goal of placing the date on food is to tell the buyer when the food will be at its freshest.

在食物包装上标注日期的目的是告诉购买者食物什么时候是最新鲜的。

Some people call the date the "expiration date." Many people believe it is unsafe to use the product after that date.

有些人称该日期为“保质期”。许多人认为在该日期之后使用该产品是不安全的。

But some observers say "best before" labels have nothing to do with safety. They worry that the information will lead consumers to throw away food that is good to eat. People around the world are thinking about ways to prevent wasting food. They think that "best before" labels are one cause of waste.

但一些观察家表示,“最佳食用日期”标签与安全无关。他们担心这些信息会导致消费者丢弃还能吃的食物。世界各地的人们都在思考防止食物浪费的方法。他们认为“最佳食用日期”标签是造成浪费的原因之一。

Patty Apple is a manager at Food Shift in Alameda, California. It is a nonprofit group that collects and uses expired or bad looking foods. "They read these dates and then they believe that it's bad, they can't eat it... when these dates don't actually mean that they're not edible or they're not still nutritious or tasty," she said.

帕蒂·阿普尔是加利福尼亚州阿拉米达 Food Shift 的经理。这是一个收集和使用过期或看起来不太好的食物的非营利组织。她说:“他们看到这些日期,就会认为食物不好,不能吃……而这些日期实际上并不表示它们不能食用或它们不再有营养或不美味。”

Some food sellers in Britain recently removed "best before" labels from prepackaged fruit and vegetables. The European Union may soon announce changes to its labeling laws. It may even end the requirement to include a date.

英国的一些食品销售商最近从预先包装好的水果和蔬菜上去掉了“最佳食用日期”标签。欧盟可能很快会宣布修改其标签法。它甚至可能取消添加日期的规定。

In the U.S., there is no similar effort to do away with "best before" labels. But there is a movement to make changes to labels that will help educate buyers about when food can be eaten.

美国没有采取类似的举措来去掉“最佳食用日期”标签。但有一场要求修改标签规定的运动,这将有助于教育购买者了解食品的食用期限。

Some big food store owners and food companies are pushing for the U.S. Congress to pass new laws on the subject. Dana Gunders is executive director of ReFED. It is a nonprofit group in New York state that studies food waste. Gunders said the level of support for the new laws is growing.

一些大型食品店老板和食品公司正在推动美国国会就这一问题通过新的法律。达纳·冈德斯是ReFED的执行董事。这是纽约州的一个非营利性组织,其研究食物垃圾。冈德斯说,支持新法律的人越来越多。

ReFED says as much as 35 percent of available food goes uneaten in the United States. That adds up to a lot of wasted energy. The waste includes the water, land and labor that goes into the food production. The group says it also means more greenhouse gases coming from landfills, where people bury waste. But ReFED estimates that seven percent of U.S. food waste comes from people's misunderstanding of "best before" labels. That percentage is equal to about 3.6 million tons each year.

ReFED表示,在美国,多达35%的可食用食物没有被食用。这就浪费了大量能源。浪费的能源包括用于食品生产的水、土地和劳动力。该组织表示,这也意味着垃圾填埋场会产生更多的温室气体,垃圾填埋场是人们掩埋垃圾的地方。但ReFED估计,美国7%的食物垃圾来自人们对“最佳食用日期”标签的误解。这一比例相当于每年约360万吨。

Date labels first appeared in the 1970s but there are no federal rules controlling them. The food producers themselves decide when they believe their products will taste best. Only baby formula must have a "use by" date in the United States.

日期标签最早出现在20世纪70年代,但没有联邦法规对其进行控制。食品生产者自己决定自己的产品什么时候味道最好。在美国,只有婴儿配方奶粉必须标明“最佳食用日期”。

Since 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that producers use the label "best if used by" for freshness. The FDA recommends "use by" for perishable goods, based on opinion studies showing that consumers understand those expressions.

自2019年以来,美国食品药品监督管理局建议生产商使用“最佳使用日期”标签来表示新鲜度。美国食品药品监督管理局建议在易腐商品上贴上“最佳使用日期”标签,因为民意调查显示消费者理解这些表达。

Richard Lipsit owns a store called Grocery Outlet in Pleasanton, California, that specializes in low-priced food. He said milk can be safely used up to a week after its "use by" date. And you can safely eat canned goods and many other packaged foods for years after their "best before" date.

理查德·利普西特在加利福尼亚州普莱森顿拥有一家名为Grocery Outlet的商店,专门卖低价食品。他说,牛奶可以在“最佳食用日期”后的一周内安全饮用。罐头食品和许多其他包装食品在“最佳食用日期”之后的几年内都可以安全食用。

The FDA says people should look for changes in color, thickness, or feel to learn if foods are all right to eat.

美国食品药品监督管理局表示,人们应该通过观察颜色、厚度或触感的变化来了解食物是否可以食用。

"Our bodies are very well equipped to recognize the signs of decay, when food is past its edible point," Gunders said. "We've lost trust in those senses and we've replaced it with trust in these dates."

冈德斯说:“当食物超过可食用限度时,我们的身体有能力识别腐烂的迹象。”“我们已经失去了对这些感官的信任,取而代之的是对这些日期的信任。”

Clearer labeling and donation rules could help groups like Food Shift. The group trains cooks using outdated food. If new laws are approved in Congress, food could be donated to food rescue organizations even after its quality date has passed. Food rescue describes efforts to find uses for outdated food. Currently, the Associated Press says at least 20 states ban the sale or donation of food after its quality date has passed.

更明确的标签和捐赠规则可以帮助像Food Shift这样的组织。该组织使用过期的食物培训厨师。如果国会通过了新法律,即使食品已经过了保质期,也可以被捐赠给食品救援组织。食品救援指的是为过期食品寻找用途的活动。据美联社报道,目前至少有20个州禁止出售或捐赠超过保质期的食品。

I'm Jill Robbins.

吉尔·罗宾斯报道。

Each food product in the United States must show a "best before" date on its container.

The goal of placing the date on food is to tell the buyer when the food will be at its freshest.

Some people call the date the "expiration date." Many people believe it is unsafe to use the product after that date.

But some observers say "best before" labels have nothing to do with safety. They worry that the information will lead consumers to throw away food that is good to eat. People around the world are thinking about ways to prevent wasting food. They think that "best before" labels are one cause of waste.

Patty Apple is a manager at Food Shift in Alameda, California. It is a nonprofit group that collects and uses expired or bad looking foods. "They read these dates and then they believe that it's bad, they can't eat it... when these dates don't actually mean that they're not edible or they're not still nutritious or tasty," she said.

Some food sellers in Britain recently removed "best before" labels from prepackaged fruit and vegetables. The European Union may soon announce changes to its labeling laws. It may even end the requirement to include a date.

In the U.S., there is no similar effort to do away with "best before" labels. But there is a movement to make changes to labels that will help educate buyers about when food can be eaten.

Some big food store owners and food companies are pushing for the U.S. Congress to pass new laws on the subject. Dana Gunders is executive director of ReFED. It is a nonprofit group in New York state that studies food waste. Gunders said the level of support for the new laws is growing.

Wasted energy

ReFED says as much as 35 percent of available food goes uneaten in the United States. That adds up to a lot of wasted energy. The waste includes the water, land and labor that goes into the food production. The group says it also means more greenhouse gases coming from landfills, where people bury waste. But ReFED estimates that seven percent of U.S. food waste comes from people's misunderstanding of "best before" labels. That percentage is equal to about 3.6 million tons each year.

Date labels first appeared in the 1970s but there are no federal rules controlling them. The food producers themselves decide when they believe their products will taste best. Only baby formula must have a "use by" date in the United States.

Since 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that producers use the label "best if used by" for freshness. The FDA recommends "use by" for perishable goods, based on opinion studies showing that consumers understand those expressions.

Good for years

Richard Lipsit owns a store called Grocery Outlet in Pleasanton, California, that specializes in low-priced food. He said milk can be safely used up to a week after its "use by" date. And you can safely eat canned goods and many other packaged foods for years after their "best before" date.

The FDA says people should look for changes in color, thickness, or feel to learn if foods are all right to eat.

"Our bodies are very well equipped to recognize the signs of decay, when food is past its edible point," Gunders said. "We've lost trust in those senses and we've replaced it with trust in these dates."

Clearer labeling and donation rules could help groups like Food Shift. The group trains cooks using outdated food. If new laws are approved in Congress, food could be donated to food rescue organizations even after its quality date has passed. Food rescue describes efforts to find uses for outdated food. Currently, the Associated Press says at least 20 states ban the sale or donation of food after its quality date has passed.

I'm Jill Robbins.

Dee-Ann Durbin reported on this story for the Associated Press. Jill Robbins adapted it for Learning English.

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Words in This Story

label -n. a piece of paper stuck to containers that tell about the product inside

customer -n. a person who buys goods or services

edible - adj. safe to eat and not poisonous.

prepackaged -adj. something that has been put in a package for sale and usually has been prepared for use upon opening

formula -n. a food for babies that is similar to mother's milk

perishable - adj. something, esp. a food, likely to spoil or deteriorate

confusion -n. a situation in which people are uncertain about what to do or unable to understand something

consumer - n. a person who buys a product to use it for themselves

canned -adj. put in a metal container

decay - n. rot that is a result of bacterial, fungal, or chemical action

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