Decoding Food Expiration Dates

This article, entitled "Decoding Food Expiration Dates," comes from Rachel Phillips, MomsEveryday correspondent from Wichita, KS.

Do you throw out food that has surpassed its "best before" date? You're not alone. What do these labels even mean?

According to, the "best before" or "use by" dates tell you how long a product is likely to remain at its best quality when unopened. It's not a safety date. After the date has passed, you may notice changes in flavor or texture. If you're still unsure, smell or examine the product before consuming it.

A "sell-by" date is usually found on perishables such as meat and milk. This lets stores know how long they can sell a product. You should buy it before that date, but keep in mind you can still store it for a while at home after it expires. Milk, for example, should be drinkable for a week after the "sell-by" date passes.

Exceptions to these guidelines include baby formula and some baby food, which should be used before the date printed on the product.

About the Author...
Rachel Phillips
Riding horses, going to the lake, beach vacations, little league sports and church activities is how the Phillips family spends most of its time together.
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