Mayor Peter Kerckhoff presents a proclamation to Parks Superintendent John Kennedy. July is Parks and Recreation month.

Mayor Kerckhoff proclaims month of July as Parks and Recreation month

Mayor Peter Kerckhoff proclaimed the month of July as Parks and Recreation month at the City Council meeting Monday night. Kerckhoff presented the framed proclamation letter to Parks Superintendent John Kennedy at the beginning of the meeting.

Kennedy presented a calendar at the meeting, and challenged the residents of Raymore to complete the calendar, which has a different outdoor activity to complete each day.

“The reward is first of all, it’s better for your health,” Kennedy said. “It’s also better for you and your kids as a family to get outside and do some activities.”

Kennedy hopes that the month long activity calendar will help increase residents’ family time outdoors at the parks. He said kids in today’s generation suffer from Nature Deficit Disorder, and would like to see them more involved with outdoor activities and help support the parks in Raymore.


Photo Courtesy of Jason Kim

KC Dirt Devils compete in “Pitch for the Cure” tournament in Arkansas

The KC Dirt Devils, a fast-pitch softball organization based out of Raymore, competed in the ‘Pitch for the Cure’ tournament in Arkansas this past weekend, June 6-8. The Dirt Devils 12u and 14u teams played three games into the bracket play, but did not place in the tournament.

“It was a great showing by both teams though, and they displayed all of the hard work and effort the players, coaches, and organization commits into this sport and the community,” KC Dirt Devils photographer and secretary Jason Kim said.

The Dirt Devils, founded in 2011 by Stephanie Kim, competes in several different tournaments around the metro area and surrounding states. The Dirt Devils organization fields five teams this year: 8u, 10u, 11u, 12u, and 14u. Each team competes in different tournaments and all have separate coaches.

The Raymore Journal readers can expect to see continued coverage of KC Dirt Devils this summer both online and in our weekly paper.

Cass County Sheriff Dwight Diehl (left) and Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley (right) address the media on Monday, June 9. Hensley announced charges against Tyler Smallwood and Matthew Volland in the murder investigation on Forrest Fuller.

PRESS RELEASE: Two men charged with first degree murder in Peculiar homicide investigation

Harrisonville, MO – – Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley announced charges against Mathew Volland and Tyler Smallwood on Monday morning, June 9.  Both were charged with Murder 1st Degree and Armed Criminal Action for the June 4, 2014 homicide in Peculiar, Missouri.

Forrest Fuller, 25, was found at the Wills Cemetery around 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday, June 4. Fuller was pronounced dead at the scene. Witness reports said a tan vehicle was seen fleeing from the scene around the time of the murder.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department conducted and investigation with the Kansas City Metro Squad which led to the arrest and prosecution of Smallwood and Volland.

The charges are as listed:


The Cass County Judge set Bond at $500,000 – Cash Only


The Cass County Judge set Bond at $500,000 – Cash Only

(An update and extended version of this story will be released in the Thursday, June 12 issue of The Raymore Journal paper)

A mugshot of Tyler Smallwood

A mugshot of Tyler Smallwood

A mugshot of Matthew Volland

A mugshot of Matthew Volland




Fundraiser for child hit by car in Peculiar

PECULIAR – On May 7, 2014, in Peculiar, MO, a family was devastated when a car struck their 6-year-old son. The child was riding his bike when the accident occurred and suffered a serious head injury. He was life flighted to Children’s Mercy hospital in critical condition. He has been moved out of intensive care, but his recovery will take lots of time and care. Katie Reynolds, owner of Katie’s Café in Peculiar, is hosting a fundraiser for the family to help with the mounting medical bills. The fundraiser will be on Friday, May 30 from 4 – 8 pm. Katie’s Café, along with the Peculiar Police, Firefighters, Boy Scout Troops, Rufti’s Tropical Snow, A-Z Petting Zoo, Peculiar Elementary School and PTA, and many more local supporters will be there. There will be food, family fun, free giveaways, raffle items, shirts, and more. All of the money raised will be given to Johnston/Young Family.
Any businesses still waning to participate are encouraged to contact Katie Kalinka at the Cafe. More info can also be found at the Facebook page, Caring is the Key for Alexander.
He continues to make progress since the accident. He is responding to stimuli in therapy and is even responding to familiar voices.
No charges are expected to be filed in the case as this was truly a terribly tragic accident.


Panthers stun Rockhurst in Districts



PECULIAR — 32 runs. That was the head-to-head scoring differential between Raymore-Peculiar and Rockhurst High Schools heading into the District Semifinal match Monday night. In their first meeting of the season, the Hawklets beat the Ray-Pec Panthers 13-0 before destroying them 20-1 later in the season.

“When they have outscored us 33 to one, that’s a pretty good speech I can put together for the pregame,” said head coach Gary Renshaw.

As that drastic scoring spread gave the Panthers motivation heading into the District matchup, their starting pitcher gave them confidence. In that 13-0 loss earlier in the season, which happened to be the first game of the year, senior ace Kyle Wilson tossed the first four innings, allowing only one run. He was set to take the mound Monday night and he brought everything he had.

Wilson knew he needed a great offensive performance to back his pitching, though, as he was heard encouraging his teammates to “score thirty” as they headed to the dugout before the first pitch. Little did he know that his team would be on pace for 25 runs halfway through the game.

To start out, the Panthers took advantage of several blunders by Rockhurst. Three defensive errors by the Hawklets in the first inning allowed for Raymore-Peculiar, who was playing on their home field, to plate two runs. Rockhurst committed another error in the second and the Panthers ended up scoring two more runs.

Senior Blake Skeed puts a ball in play against Rockhurst Monday night.

Senior Blake Skeed puts a ball in play against Rockhurst Monday night.

In the bottom half of the second, Kyle Wilson threw one bad pitch that made the score 4-1. Senior Sam Goodwin took a fastball up in the zone with the strong wind over the right field fence. That was the closest the game would ever be for the Hawklets.

With two men on base and one out in the third inning, senior Turner Wehmeyer was hit by a pitch and loaded the bases for Ray-Pec. After two consecutive walks made the score 6-1, Rockhurst brought in their third pitcher in as many innings. Evan Rathburn was up next and hit a ground ball that should have been a double play; however, senior Blake Skeed, the runner from first, slid into the defenseman at second base, causing and errant throw and two more runs scored.

Skeed didn’t stop there. In the fourth inning, the Southwest Baptist-bound second baseman drilled a long shot with the bases loaded, plating all three runs on the double. At that point, 3.2 innings had been played and the score was 13-1.

Though Wilson would give up a run in the bottom half of the fourth, the scoring would come to an end for Rockhurst. Solid defensive play behind the starter’s eight strikeouts earned Wilson the win, as the Panthers walked away with a 13-2 victory after five innings.

“They came out twice and kicked our butt. We came back with a lot of confidence,” Wilson said after the game.

“We knew we could get this game and that’s what we did.”

After the team huddled up for their post-game meeting, Wilson and Coach Renshaw shared a victorious moment together coming off the field.

“Thank you for giving me this game,” Wilson said to his team’s skipper.

“He was outstanding. He couldn’t have thrown a better game. When you hold [Rockhurst] to two runs, you’ve done something right.”

Ray-Pec took on Lee’s Summit West for the championship on Wednesday night, but due to deadline restraints, that game will be published in next week’s paper. It is known at the time of this writing, however, that the Panthers felt pretty good heading into that game.

“We have nothing to lose. The pressure’s on West,” said Renshaw.

And as for Wilson — he’s thinking big.

“We’re going to State. That’s all I can think about.”


Panthers edge Pirates behind Harris


BELTON — It’s rare to see four innings of baseball played in less than one hour at any level. It’s also rare to see a team that’s trailing leave three men on base late in a game, only to get a second chance and win the contest. Both of those things happened on Monday afternoon, however, as the Raymore-Peculiar Panthers won a tight game over the Belton Pirates.

“I had a feeling we were going to come back,” Ray-Pec head coach Gary Renshaw said. “This group’s kind of that way.”

Though the game was decided in the top of the sixth inning when the Panthers scored both of their runs, the bottom of the sixth featured a defensive play by Ray-Pec’s catcher Josh Scribner that boosted his team. With two outs and a man on base, a Belton batter swung through a pitch off the hand of starter Ben Harris and popped it into foul territory. The ball didn’t travel far, and it would only be seconds before it hit the ground. Scribner instinctively flipped off his mask and dove head first, snagging the ball before it hit the dirt.

“For a pitcher, getting me out of that inning so we get to go hit, that’s just huge,” Harris said after the game.

After the play was over, the entire Ray-Pec bench met Scribner on his way off of the field yelling out phrases like, “That’s a big time play!” Harris was seen mouthing the word “Beautiful!” to one of his coaches.

In the bottom half of the seventh inning with the Panthers looking to protect a slim one-run lead, the heat and fatigue got to Harris and he was pulled after hitting a batter and getting a groundout. Junior Evan Rathburn entered the game, and though the baserunner got to third, the Pirates stayed at bay and Raymore-Peculiar cruised to victory.

“I feel like we’re playing really good baseball,” Renshaw said.

Freshman Andrew Houston drives in the winning run on Monday.

Freshman Andrew Houston drives in the winning run on Monday.

“Our offense is coming along, with our defense. Our starting pitching has always been there.”

The key difference for the Panthers now as compared to the beginning of the year is that there is more time between games, allowing key starting pitchers to get more rest. Harris, along with fellow juniors Rathburn and Kyle Wilson were making the starts early on, but since then Harris and Wilson have settled into starting roles and Rathburn has established himself as the closer. As evidenced Monday, the formula is working quite well.

Freshman infielder Andrew Houston has developed a storyline of his own this season, making a name for himself on the diamond. When starting third baseman Logan Moore was forced to sit out earlier in the year due to surgery, Houston was called on to fill the void.

In his first big appearance on varsity, the underclassman went 3-6 on a Saturday doubleheader in the Lawrence Tournament. Houston hit two doubles and stole three bases on the day as his team won each of those games.

On Monday, Houston drove in what would prove to be the winning run in that crucial sixth inning.

Senior Chase Graf had the other RBI on the day for Ray-Pec. Josh Scribner was 2-2 with a walk.

“We’ve won five of six, so we’re playing pretty well right now and Districts is coming around so we have to keep winning,” said Harris.

“This was a good win, but it was an ugly win.”

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Raymore residents show support for Ella

Residents of Raymore are decorating their mailboxes, doors and porches with lime green bows to show their love and support for Ella Schultz. It began in Stonegate and quickly spread throughout the city. Ray-Pec High School got involved when the girls wore green bows during the annual Powder Puff game on Sunday night at Panther Stadium and donated all their proceeds to Ella’s fight
Five year old, Ella, a quiet, but very sassy little girl that lives in the Raymore community was diagnosed with leukemia on July 14th and has spent the last month at Children’s Mercy Hospital undergoing chemo treatments to fight this terrible disease. “She was perfectly fine and the next day she’s not,” said Ella’s aunt, Heather Johnston.
After she completed her chemo treatments it was discovered that an infection had spread in her body. She will remain in intensive care where she can receive around the clock care.
Ella’s mother, Jennifer said, “We are incredibly grateful for the amazing outpouring of support from the community and it is truly humbling. Every green bow, every like on her page, every bracelet bought, every donation, every shaved head…I mean, it’s more than we could have ever imagined. And I hope that Lord willing when we get out of here we get to somehow explain to Ella the magnitude of the support she has gotten.”
If you would like to make a contribution to help the family go to:

Fundraising for Ella-Joe

Aug 30 Car Wash 10am to 2pm In the parking lot of Dr. Jacob Young’s office at 8015 E 171st Street, Belton

Sept 19 2014 Light the 6pm Cleveland Chiropractic College, 10850 Lowell Walk Avenue, Overland Park, KS

Sept 27 Poker game 6pm to 8pm Aaron’s Family Fun Center ($ 25 buy in)

Sept 27 Unlimited mini 8pm to 12am Aaron’s Family Fun Center ($10 bands) golf & sand

If you are interested in purchasing bracelets and Tshirts you may do so on the Prayers For Ella Facebook page.

mo flag

Kander Announces Recount on Statewide Ballot Measure

Secretary of State Jason Kander today announced a statewide recount of Constitutional Amendment 1, which appeared on Missouri’s August 5th primary election ballot, has been requested. Kander’s office has created a webpage ( to make the recount process more transparent and accessible to Missourians. The page will be updated daily at 3 p.m. to show the recount schedule established by the local election authorities, each local election authority’s report of findings, and a summary of recount results. The office will also train a team of staff members that can be dispatched throughout the state if assistance is requested. Per state statute, the recount will be supervised and certified by the secretary of state’s office no later than September 15.

“My goal is to set the standard for an open, transparent and fair recount process,” Kander said. “Recounts are in place to both ensure the integrity of elections and give Missourians confidence in the results, which is why I put an emphasis on new transparency measures.”

According to state law (RSMo 115.601), recounts are not automatically triggered, but must be requested by a registered voter whose position on the ballot question was defeated. Statewide races are only eligible for a recount when results are separated by less than one half of one percent of total votes cast. Of 996,672 votes cast on Constitutional Amendment 1, there were 499,581 “yes” votes and 497,091 “no” votes, with a difference of 0.24 percent. The recount was requested by Wes Shoemyer on behalf of Missouri’s Food for America. Constitutional Amendment 1 will be represented by Dan Kleinsorge on behalf of Missouri Farmers Care. Local election authorities will determine the date and time for recounts to take place in their respective counties, and a bipartisan team of election judges will conduct the process. Media may be present to observe the proceedings.

Local Soccer Star Gets International Recognition

StevenSteven Tekesky, a longtime resident of Raymore, MO and a Junior at Ray-Pec High School has been selected by U.S. Youth Futsal as the goalie for the U16 National Futsal Team. Futsal is a 5 v 5 small-sided soccer game played on a hard surfaced, basketball sized court with a smaller, heavier low bounce ball; this is the game that outdoor soccer players around the globe play to refine and maintain their control skills and touch. Futsal is the only “Official form of Indoor Soccer” as approved by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association FIFA.After a year-long identification process Steven was invited to attend the U.S. Youth National Futsal Camp in Overland Park, KS in July where his efforts earned him recognition and selection to the inaugural U16 National Futsal Team. The national futsal team will be participating in their first international tournament during the end of December 2014. Details of the event are still being finalized; location, schedules and other details will be posted in the near future on the U.S. Youth Futsal website: http://www.usyouthfutsal.comSteven has been playing both indoor and outdoor soccer for more than 10 years starting with the Raymore Parks and Recreation soccer program he moved on to play two years with the Freedom Futbol Club, a youth soccer club located in Raymore MO. Following the Freedom Futbol Club, Steven moved and played for the Futura Futbol Club under the current head coach of FC Kansas City, Kansas City’s professional woman’s soccer team, Vlatko Andonovski. For the past five years Steven has been playing year-round with the Sporting Kansas City Academy where he won two Missouri State Championships and numerous other accolades. Tekesky is currently the primary goalie on Sporting’s U16 team and rosters on the U18 team as needed.

Campers learned adult, child, and infant CPR

Raymore resident helps kids with special needs stay safe in their environment

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Campers learned disaster preparedness

Walking into the campgrounds on a damp morning, at first glance it seemed no different than any other youth camp. Upon closer observation however, it became increasingly clear that the campers were unique, and even more eye-opening was the type of classes going on throughout the campground.
The campers in the bright yellow shirts were not learning how to make fire, but how to practice chemical safety in their homes. They were not making art projects out of feathers and beads, they were learning how to give CPR. They were not going on nature walks, they were developing a natural disaster home safety plan. No, this was definitely not an ordinary camp at all.
The Joshua Center is first of its type in the country to develop a program like this for kids with neurological disorders. Campers came in as far as Lincoln,

Officer Bergman taught the campers about stranger awareness

Officer Bergman taught the campers about stranger awareness

Nebraska to be a part of this program. At Safety Camp Day Camp the kids hear from experts, but there are specific activities to reinforce each objective as well. They have to experience it in some way to take ownership of the material. The Joshua Center follows the same American Camp Association standards for this Safety Camp pilot program. This program partnered with community experts to help kids understand the seriousness of safety considerations at home, at school, and in the community. The Center reached out to local police departments, fire departments and other community experts for help.
“The professionals that have stepped up, I mean its just amazing,” exclaimed Becky Ottinger, founder of the Joshua Center.
John Bergman, the School Youth Community Outreach Officer from the Raymore Police Department described how he became involved with the camp.
“Becky asked if there was any way I could teach stranger safety and home alone safety with the kids and I said, ‘Absolutely, I’ll do it!’”
When asked about adapting his safety talks to this particular group of kids he said, “I did research on kids with Autism and Aspergers. I looked at the subject matter and asked myself what is going to be the best way to relay this information to them so they will understand it and learn from it. I really didn’t do much as far as changing it. They are extremely bright kids. They are real good about asking questions. I’ve been having a ball!”
Becky Ottinger started the Joshua Center for Neurological Disorders in 1996 after her son was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, OCD, and ADHD. In 2003, the Center started seeing kids with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism. It provides: therapy for parents and children, help with schools, and social skills classes, and an annual American Camp Association accredited camp program at Rotary Youth Camp in Lee’s Summit. The Center also works closely with local child psychiatrists, neurologists and pediatricians.
As a former teacher, Ottinger felt very strongly that it takes a village to raise these kids. As part of that village, Ottinger developed a Safety Camp Day Camp to meet at the Rotary Camp. The Safety Camp project idea came after recently developing game cards “Speak Up,” “Safety Smart,” and “Fire Safety” for the Me and My World Social Skills Curriculum and Board Games. There are classes taught in churches by education professionals throughout the Kansas City Metro area and over 100 local schools are now using the curriculum a

Campers learned swimming techniques that could save their lives if they ever fell into a river or lake

Campers learned swimming techniques that could save their lives if they ever fell into a river or lake

s well.
“Speak Up” cards were developed after extensive research revealed that in every school tragedy the shooter was severely bullied, and in every situation someone knew of the impending tragedy and did not speak up.
“I have followed every school tragedy since and sadly the same scenario continues,” laments Ottinger.
The “Safety Smart” cards were developed from a request from a School Counselor asking for community safety cards and lessons. After the recent tragic kidnapping and murder in Springfield, MO the topic is extremely important.
“Fire Safety” cards were developed after a fireman, Mike Van Aken from Raymore, who works with families after a fire tragedy and said the kids are all “our kids.” Prevention 1st in New York has worked very closely with the Joshua Center to ensure they are on the right track to address fire safety. After talking with them about their concerns over fire drills the Center has developed a School Fire Drill lesson to specifically address the severe sensory issues of kids with neurological disorders. The Center will pilot the program in schools this fall. “I have spent over 500 hours developing the curriculum and feel pretty good about it. With 1/50 children being diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum, I feel a greater need to do what we can to help. After watching the tragedy unfold in Santa Barbara this spring and learning the young man has Aspergers we must push forward to help as many people as we can,” said Ottinger
The skills that the kids were learning at the camp were life skills that will help them maneuver through a world that does not always make life easy for them. Knowing vital safety information will give them confidence and ownership in their lives.
Ottinger hopes to start Social Skills classes in Raymore soon. For more information please contact the Joshua Center at their website For more photos of the camp, go to the Raymore Journal’s Facebook page.

NSF International Survey Reveals How Confusion About Food Expiration Dates Can Impact Health and Wallets

Expiration date labeling on food products is a source of confusion for consumers according to a new survey from NSF International, a global public health and safety organization. The survey found that people are confused about how to interpret dates on food packaging such as expiration, “best used by” and “sell by” dates, causing many to keep some food dangerously long or prematurely throw away good food.
In fact, the survey indicated that one in four (27 percent) Americans don’t throw away food by the expiration date, putting themselves, family or friends at risk of foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli. Additionally, half of Americans surveyed said they throw out food based on the “best used by” and “sell by” dates (51 percent and 36 percent, respectively), wasting both their food and money.
Perhaps because of this confusion, a majority of the respondents (64 percent) said they rely on the decidedly unscientific and incorrect approach of using their senses to decide when to throw out food. Nearly half (47 percent) use visual cues such as mold or a change in texture or color as an indicator of food’s freshness. An additional 17 percent said they will throw away fresh foods based on smell. This behavior can be dangerous because the germs which cause foodborne illness cannot be seen or smelled.
“With so many different types of dates on food packaging, it’s understandable that consumers may be confused about what they all mean,” said Cheryl Luptowski, home safety expert at NSF International. “Some dates are references for food safety, while other dates are meant to inform the consumer of the food’s quality or help retailers be aware of how long to display food. Part of NSF International‘s mission is to educate consumers about food safety, and our survey results clearly show that more education is needed on the subject.”
Americans who are confused by the different label dates can refer to the quick guide below and visit NSF International’s website for more food safety advice such as the Understanding Expiration Dates Tip Sheet and NSF Food Storage Charts.
· Expiration or “use by” dates refer to food safety. Food should be thrown away once this date has passed.
· “Sell by” dates are a reference for food retailers and indicate when food should be pulled from the shelves. Consumers should check to make sure this date has not passed before purchasing food.
· “Best used by” dates have nothing to do with safety. Instead they refer to the last date when the food will be at peak quality and freshness.
Other findings from NSF International’s food expiration dates survey include:
· Uncooked meats, dairy products and produce pose the greatest food safety threat when kept too long, yet some still ignore the dates on these products. One in four (27 percent) said they keep uncooked meat past the date on the label and 22 percent said they keep dairy products such as milk and sour cream past the date on the label. Thirty-seven percent don’t throw away produce after the expiration date.
· Behavior varies according to age. Those under age 34 were more likely to throw out foods regardless of the type of date posted on the package. Conversely, Americans over age 55 were the most likely to hold onto food past any date on the label, which is concerning if they are preparing meals for young children, pregnant women or immune-compromised family and friends. Consumers older than 65 may also be more susceptible to germs which cause foodborne illness.
· Americans sometimes avoid eating at other people’s homes due to food safety concerns. According to the survey, 39 percent of respondents have avoided eating something at a friend’s or family member’s house because they didn’t trust the safety or quality of the food. The level of concern rises for middle-aged respondents. Nearly half (48 percent) of those aged 45-54 will say “no thanks” to food when they are a guest, while 35 percent of younger Americans aged 18-34 will decline food.
· Men and women tend to throw out food for the same reasons. Overall, men and women have similar behavior when it comes to throwing away food. However, women tend to be slightly more cautious when it comes to throwing out specific foods that are past the label date (e.g. uncooked meat, canned goods, prewashed vegetables, etc.). Both acknowledge relying more on changes in appearance, color or texture rather than the date on the food package.
“Food expiration dates are meant to offer guidance to consumers,” added Luptowski. “Confusion about these dates can result in many people either keeping food long past the dates on the product or throwing away food prematurely. Knowing what the dates mean can help keep you healthy, avoid food wastes and save money.”
Date labeling on food products is a source of confusion for many Americans, according to a new NSF International survey. The survey found that many people are unsure how to interpret common dates found on food product labels, such as sell by, use by and best used by dates, which is causing some to prematurely throw away good food while others are keeping bad food too long.
The survey revealed that one in four (27 percent) Americans doesn’t throw away food past the expiration date, which could lead to exposure to foodborne pathogens including Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli. In addition, half of the U.S. population (51 percent) throws out food based on the “best used by” and another third (36 percent) throws out food based on the “sell by” date, leading to unnecessary food waste and higher grocery bills.
Perhaps because of this confusion, a majority of consumers (64 percent) rely on the decidedly unscientific approach of using their senses to decide when to throw out food. Nearly half (47 percent) of the survey respondents admitted to using visual cues such as mold or a change in color or texture to help determine if food is still fresh, while another 17 percent acknowledged waiting until food smells bad before discarding.
Other interesting survey findings include:
· Americans are most cautious with dairy and meat products. The survey revealed that more than three-fourths (78 percent) of consumers will throw out dairy products, such as milk, sour cream, cream cheese or yogurt when the date on the label has passed. Similarly 73 percent of respondents said they will throw out meat when the label date has passed.
· Dry goods are less of a concern for consumers. Only one-quarter (27 percent) of consumers throw away dry goods, such as cereal, pasta or chips if the label date has passed. In addition, 33 percent do the same for frozen items and 36 percent throw away canned goods when label date has passed.
· Confusion varies according to age. Those over age 55 are the most likely to hold on to food past any date on the label, which could expose them to foodborne illness. Yet those under 34 are more likely to throw out foods quickly regardless of the date posted on the label, potentially wasting good food.
When it comes to understanding dates on food packaging, keep in mind that not all label dates indicate food safety. Below are the three most common types of food labeling found in the U.S.; visit our expiration dates tips Web page for further information about these and other types of date labeling you might find on food items.
· Expiration or use by dates – are the two types of dates that refer to food safety.
· Sell by dates – are references for retailers to let them know how long to display an item for sale.
· Best used by dates – are a guide to how long a product will retain peak quality and freshness.
Don’t buy any food after the expiration date. Any food already in your home that is past the use by or expiration dates should be thrown away unless it was frozen prior to this date.
Although some perishable foods like packaged salads and vegetables may display a sell by or best used by date, this isn’t true for bulk foods and fresh produce. In addition, once a package of food has been opened, the label date may no longer apply. For foods that don’t display a date or those that have already been opened, you can refer to NSF’s food storage charts for recommended safety and spoilage guidelines.
Although food product dating regulations vary by country, dates are commonly found on many food items sold in Europe, the U.S. and Canada, especially on perishable foods like meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products.
Food labeling dates generally fall into one of three categories:
These are the most important dates to pay attention to. You need to use the food item before this date. If you can’t use the item before this date, you should either freeze the unused portion or throw it away before the date on the label. Don’t purchase any foods past these dates.
· Use by – Most commonly found on fresh foods like dairy products, meat and packaged produce
· Expiration date – Usually found only on infant formula and baby food. Some U.S. states also require an expiration date to be placed on eggs.
These dates refer to how long an unopened food product will remain at peak quality and freshness. They are not an indication of safety, and foods are generally still safe to consume after the date has passed assuming they were properly stored from the date of purchase. Examples of quality dates are:
· Best before
· Best if used by
· Durable life date
These dates are generally provided to help a store know how long to display a product for sale. Examples of store/manufacturer dates are:
· Sell by – This date serves as a guide so stores know how long to display a product for sale. Purchase products before the sell-by date has expired.
· Packed/baked – These dates are mostly for store use to help know how long to display the food item for sale.
· Closed or coded dates – Found mostly on canned foods, these are packing numbers generally used by manufacturers.
Product Safety After the Label Date Has Passed
Although not all label dates are indications of food safety, it’s still best to avoid purchasing foods after any date that is posted on the label. If you have a product in your home that is past the posted “sell by” or “best by” date, it may still be safe to use or consume if it is unopened and was properly handled from the point of purchase. For perishable goods that display a use-by date, follow that date and either freeze or discard any unused portion by that date. If a product has a sell-by date only or no date at all, cook or freeze the product according to our food storage charts.
If foods are mishandled, foodborne bacteria can grow and cause food poisoning even before the date on the package. To avoid the potential for food poisoning, shop smart and run all your other errands first and buy groceries last so that you can take them home immediately after purchasing. Pay attention to product labeling dates if posted, especially use-by and expiration dates.