Best If Used By...


| 5 Comments
We all dread looking at that expiration date on something that we forgot we had in the fridge for a while. I know that I always hate throwing out food, especially now that I'm a college student who purchases my own food. But what does the expiration date really mean? According to this 

article they do not mean what we think they mean. Apparently the words "best if used by" are just referring to the quality of the food and not whether or not we can still eat it. This was a surprise to me. I, along with probably most people, have always thrown out food as soon as the expiration date hits. Expiration dates aren't even required everywhere. Now the question at hand is when is it time to throw out the food? Obviously if it gets moldy, it's got to go. But the article also says that as long as it was kept refrigerated and packaged well, you have the green light on eating it. 

When it comes to "sell by" dates, that's just referring to how long the store should keep it out on the shelves, according to this article. How long you keep foods after the sell by date basically depends on the kind of food. The best thing to do is to trust your intuition. Once you feel like its starting to get a bad smell, the safest thing to do would be to throw it away. There is also always the trusty google search to see when different types of food usually go bad by. So know you know: "used by" doesn't always mean "throw out by". 

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5 Comments

I found your post interesting because I actually wrote a blog about eating expired food today. It was interesting because while I was researching the effect the of eating expired food I found out what you stated in this article that most people misinterpret the the label on the milk carton to mean sell by as the expiration date.

Whenever that had happened to me in the past, I would always get so angry because I feel guilty that I bought the food and wasn't able to finish it by the expiration date. I would always throw the food right out because I would feel that it cannot be eaten now that it is expired, however now that I read this post I feel like even after the food is expired I could give it a few days after to finish the food.

Heres a really funny skit on expired foods:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcFMrzRn-L4

This post is very informing. I'm always trying to find the "sell by" or "use by" labels on the food packaging. Thought, it is nice to know if the food has been on the shelf longer than it should, but I think you're right. The best way to tell is trust your intuition, look for mold, or just google search it.

Is this subject to change depending on the food? For instance, are there certain foods that have a shorter shelf life (like milk, cheese, meat) that have to be tossed after the expiration date? Also is there a difference in expiration dates depending on whether something has been opened or not? I know some things like crackers and cereal can be eaten years after the expiration date and will still taste fine if unopened. I agree though, a lot of food is wasted due to dependence on the expiration date, and a lot of people probably don't know how to tell if something has gone bad (myself included).

I literally never look at the expiration date! It's so bad! So this post was definitely a good thing for me to read since I never really go by the date, unless it's something like milk. Here's an article about expiration dates and the meaning behind them that you might want to check out!
http://healthyliving.msn.com/health-wellness/what-do-those-expiration-dates-really-mean

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