Your Refrigerator Is Full of Trash

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Everything I should throw out, according to the Wall Street Journal. Not shown: baked ziti from 3 days ago...
Everything I should throw out, according to the Wall Street Journal. Not shown: baked ziti from 3 days ago…

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, I should be tossing half the contents of my refrigerator into the trash.

The article has a helpful infographic that insists that tomatoes be thrown out after 2-3 days, leafy greens after 3-4 days, “cooked meat leftovers” after 2 days.

Yes, you read that right. That chicken you made 4 days ago? It could kill you. Or at least, it just isn’t fresh anymore, and we all know how Fresh Is The “In” Thing these days – although I am pretty sure that is not what nutritionists, chefs and foodies had in mind when they were pushing this important and healthy trend all these years.

Salad dressing? Three months, tops. As a friend of mine put it, “I don’t think Ranch ever goes bad, does it?” Of the 6 different salad dressings in my fridge at the moment, four have 2014 dates on them. I did find one that was dated 2013 – and I threw that one out, in case you were wondering if I have any standards at all.

I don’t know about you, but if I used a 3-4 days standard on leafy greens I may as well just throw the stuff out on my way out of the grocery store. Same with tomatoes. Doesn’t anyone pay attention to how something looks and smells anymore? Doesn’t anyone trim the gooey bits off?

The article of course has a business angle, and that angle seems to be in support of fancy, newfangled, and no doubt expensive refrigerators that will keep your food fresh for a longer period time, because they will have all kinds of temperature-controlled drawers and air filtering systems that ” “scrubs” the air of ethylene, mold, viruses and bacteria every 20 minutes.”

My veggie drawer, before I realized it was all useless garbage...
My veggie drawer, before I realized it was all useless garbage…
…and after I was enlightened by the WSJ.









Some scientist, somewhere, decided that consumers need the air in their refrigerator scrubbed every 20 minutes. Because, oh noes! They might have to remove a few lettuce leaves, or cut a spot out of a pepper – or THROW IT ALL OUT because, 3-day window, it’s NOT FRESH, OMG.

Get. A. Grip. People.

Is it slimy, and it’s not supposed to be slimy? Throw it out (or, even better, if it’s a veggie, compost it). Does it smell bad and it’s not supposed to smell bad? Throw it out. Moldy and it’s not supposed to be moldy? Brown and it’s supposed to be green? Liquid mess but it’s supposed to be solid? You see where I’m going here?

Buy fresh food. Eat it. Throw it out when it’s bad, not according to some ridiculous schedule.

About Rebecca Foster 67 Articles
Rebecca Foster writes about food, politics, books and whatever has irritated her on any particular day, on her website Usual and Ordinary ( She is an occasional contributor to The Livingston Post and has remained active in local politics and the community after serving as Pinckney Village President from 2004-2012. She lives in Pinckney with her husband, two sons, and three cats - and a good sense of humor.