Food Expiration Dates – What Do They Really Mean?

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When it comes to food expirations dates, how do you know if it is still good after the expiry date?  It seems we are finding the shelves at the grocery store a little more bare these days.  So with that we are searching our pantry, fridge and freezer to see what we can use.  Often times we find somethings in the back of our pantry that has a sell by date or best if used by date that has expired.  What do you do?  Eat it or Toss it?  Good news, there are several foods that are still good after the expiration date listed on the package.

The expiration date, sell by date and best if used by is set in place to indicate that a product has reached its peak quality or flavor.  Some items do lose their freshness, flavor and color after a certain time frame.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is no longer safe.   Here is the breakdown of what the food expiration dates really men.

Best if Used By/Before is listed in regards to quality and taste, not in regards to safety or spoilage.

Sell-By date is again not in regards to safety, instead this is for the store to maintain inventory in how long to keep on their shelves for sale.

Use-By is similar to Best if Used By, it’s in reference to having the best quality.  (exception of infant formula, it is not a safety date)

Freeze-By date is for a consumer to maintain top quality of the food, therefore freezing will help preserve that.

Read more about the most common foods that you may have on hand, that may have expired.  This includes items such as bread, eggs, canned goods, frozen vegetables and more.  This is just a guide of what has been determined, in the end you be the judge on if something is still good for you and your family.