What food expiration dates *really* mean
This is the date that retailers should be removing a product from their shelf. Generally, this means that the food’s shelf life is 2/3 of the way done, meaning you still have plenty of time to enjoy.
When a product is past it’s use by date, this means that it will be decreasing in quality quickly. By this point safety becomes a concern, so it’s probably time to throw it out.
The best-by date is pretty self-explanatory; this is the date when the product’s quality starts to decline. Even if food is past it’s best-by date, it might still be safe to consume.
Still a bit concerned about expiration dates and food safety? Here are a few more tips:
If the use-by or best-by label is before the words “for safety”, these dates only refer to the quality. So, feel free to dig into your prepackaged salad if it’s a few dates past the best-by date. It might not be as tasty as it would have been when you first bought it but it won’t make you sick.
Though best-by and use-by dates on a product work well as guidelines, once you’ve opened a jar or can of something, these dates become a less accurate. Opened products are exposed to their environment, meaning they could end up spoiling at a faster rate. When you’re reading your food’s labels, remember that each company decides expiration dates themselves. There’s not set of rules or guidelines that tells a manufacturer which products should have which dates.
Have you ever eaten something that was way past its expiration date? Share in the comments below.