Food Expiration Dates, What They Really Mean

To throw, or not throw away…

You’ve seen them all, “best if used by,” “use by,” “sell by,” and more, but what do these dates actually mean? Does your food need to be thrown out after these dates, or is it still safe to eat?

According to a recent KSL article, there are more than 10 different expiration date labels on food packaging. But unless they’re producing infant formula, there isn’t even a federal or Utah state law requiring manufacturers to stamp their food with an expiration date.

This quick list is a good guideline for future label use in your home.

  • A “Best if used by” or “Best if used before” label is the date the manufacturer says their food will taste its best.
  • A “Use by” label is the last day they’ll vouch food is at its peak quality.
  • A “Sell by” label is the last day the store should have an item on the shelf.

Need more help with all of this? Good thing there’s an app for that.

The FoodKeeper App provides valuable food storage advice to help consumers maintain the freshness and quality of foods. The guidelines recommended in the app can also help consumers use food while at peak quality and reduce waste.

Get the app in the App Store or Google Play.



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