NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodArvin / Lamont


Addressing food waste and food safety

Laborers of the Harvest educate the public in Arvin about food labels
Posted at 5:44 PM, Jul 02, 2024

ARVIN, Calif. (KERO) — Laborers of the Harvest (LOTH) in Arvin say misinformation about these labels has caused community members to stop consuming their products.

  • Video shows when it is safe to consume foods that are passed their "Sell By" or "Best By" date.
  • LOTH is a food pantry that opened in Arvin last fall to address food insecurity in the area.
  • Recently, LOTHs say their turnout has been impacted by alleged rumors suggesting their food is expired.


When shopping for packaged foods, consumers may inspect those items for their "Sell by" or "Best By" dates. And in some cases, those dates may be easily confused with the product's expiration date. Laborers of the Harvest (LOTH) in Arvin tell me this misinformation has affected their turnout.

Laborers of the Harvest began serving Arvin in October. Through its Open Harvest Program, the nonprofit brings fresh food to food-insecure areas.

"There have been times when I don't have money to buy tortillas," said Arvin resident Enriqueta Benavides, "Here, thank God, we have tortillas."

Benavides says she's been attending Open Harvest for about three months and is grateful for what the program offers.

She adds that recently, rumors on social media alleged the products offered by the nonprofit are expired and have been pushing community members away.

"In a grocery store, you'll have various dates like 'Sell By' date, 'Use By' date, and 'Freeze By' date. These dates have nothing to do with the expiration of the food," explained LOTH's Board Member Olivia Calderon, "The food is still good to eat, it just means that they [grocery stores] can no longer sell it."

According to the USDA, this misunderstanding is common. They report that confusion over date labeling accounts for approximately 30 percent of consumer waste.

Calderon says the nonprofit works on the new California law SB1383, which makes it illegal for grocery stores to dispose of groceries past their food label date.

"It requires for all the major supermarkets to turn in their food to organizations like Laborers of the Harvest to distribute and no longer go out and dump it in landfills," said Calderon.

When that food rots in the landfills, it puts out methane that contaminates the air we breathe.

The USDA reports that except for infant formula, packaged foods are safe to eat even if the date passes unless spoilage is evident. Spoiled foods, they say will develop an off odor, flavor, and/or texture and should not be eaten.

Calderon added that LOTHs has been trained to handle the food and keep it safe from cross-contamination for families to enjoy.

"Right now, the cost of living is expensive, so this program is really helpful for people like us who are low-income and who sometimes don't have the means necessary to keep going," said Benavides.

Laborers of the Harvest have extended their hours of operation and will now be open 6 days out of the week, Monday through Friday from 6 to 8 pm and Saturday from 12 to 4 pm.

Stay in Touch with Us Anytime, Anywhere: