"Sell by" date, Best by, Best if used by, Best before, Use by, born on, Packed on, Guaranteed fresh, etc.confusing?
Let us break these down for a better understanding as to what is what here.
experienced this lately? The moment we begin to realize that the pack of food we
bought is about to expire. Our creative side begins to think up brand new dishes
which now include a mix of foods we normally would not put together. Well,
before you begin making what will most likely become something with word
SURPRISE in it, you may want to learn the truth about those dates on your
might surprise you to find out that virtually all date labeling on food is
voluntary. Yes, you read that correctly, voluntary. The only items required to
have date labeling for expiration is infant formula, baby foods and a few states
have laws requiring certain dairy products be pulled off shelves on the
expiration date is not the only date we see on foods we buy. There is "Sell By",
"Best if used by", "Guaranteed fresh", "Packed on", "Born on", "Discard by", and
of course, "EXP" dates. Some manufacturers will leave you scratching your head
trying to figure out their "Closed" or "Coded" dating system.
This is a
label that tells the store when to pull the item from its shelf. This is not
mandatory at all and is only a rough guide telling you that the foods freshness,
consistency and taste is going to be better if you buy it by this date. It is
NOT a safety date. Items such as milk, eggs, and ground beef are safe beyond
this date but the length of time varies greatly depending on the type of storage
and how long the product was out of refrigeration.
By" date also prompts a frugal buyer to dig deeper to find the freshest date.
This is why the milk and egg displays are always out of date order. We have all
reached around the milk in the front to get to the fresher milk in the back
leaving the milk display out of order. Some of us even look around to make sure
no one is looking because we think we are breaking some sort of rule. No
worries, you are not, so let the digging begin.
By", "Best if used by", "Best Before" and "Use By" date
exactly as stated. The date is voluntarily supplied by the manufacturer as a
guide to tell you that the contents, if left unopened, are going to be at their
highest quality by the date shown. After the date has passed, you may notice a
difference in the taste, color, consistency and overall quality of the product
but by no means does it mean the product is not safe to eat.
bet for gauging the quality of a product is three senses test. First, look for
signs of mold or discoloration, which may indicate spoilage. Second, sniff the
food and look, or smell for, a foul or unusual odor. Third, if you have passed
the first two tests then check a small amount for taste. If the food fails any
of these tests you may want to discard it. Take into consideration there will be
some changes in taste, smell and consistency over time. According to the USDA
Food Safety Inspection Service, this is NOT a safety date.
are all familiar with "Born on" dates made popular by the beer industry. These
have actually been in use for quite some time and they are exactly as it sounds,
the date the product was made. This is especially useful for products that begin
to deteriorate starting the very date they are produced.
it sounds, this is the date the product was packaged on. Many products such as
aged meat, cheeses and more are not packaged the same day they are
the name implies, the manufacturer is stating that the product is going to be
fresh on or before this date. Should the product not be fresh, the manufacturer
will usually replace the product or refund it. We often see this on snack items,
cereals, produce and other products.
next time when we reveal the truth about those "coded" expiration labels, plus
an extremely useful chart to guide you in knowing when to toss the