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Expiration Dates

The USDA states that even if the expiration date on your food item has passed, it should still be safe to eat if handled properly until the spoilage is evident.

Those food date labels may not be as cut and dry as imagined: 

  • "Best if Used By/Before" indicates best flavor or quality. It is not a safety date.
  • "Sell-By" date tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management. It is not a safety date.
  • "Use-By" date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. It is not a safety date except for when used on infant formula*.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), foods are still safe for consumption after these expiration dates pass, but make sure to look out for an off odor, flavor, or texture that mean the food has spoiled and should not be eaten.

Learn more and download the Deciphering Dates on Products resource from Save The Food on our Resource Page.

Also read our blog post Moving Beyond Expiration Dates

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