More About Check for Expired Food 🍓🍞

Sell By
The sell-by date simply tells retailers how long to display the product before taking it off the shelves. It's in no way an indication of safety. Grocery stores will often try to get rid of this old inventory through sales, so be on the lookout!

Best If Used By/Before
Probably the most commonly heeded food date is the best by date, because, let's face it, the name is a little misleading. As with other food dates, this label doesn't indicate when a product is "best" in terms of safety, but rather in terms of quality. So the best-by date simply refers to when a product will be at best flavor or quality.

Guaranteed Fresh
This date usually refers to bakery items. It simply indicates when the item will be at peak freshness, but it's still safe to eat after this date.

Use By
This refers to the last date recommended by the manufacturer for use of the produce while at peak quality. The only time this refers to safety is in the case of infant formula.

The pack date is the code that refers to the date the food was washed, graded, and packaged. This is most commonly found on egg cartons. The tricky thing with this label is it's not the easiest to read. The label will look like a three number code that represents the day of the year that it was packed. For example, 001 would refer to January 1, and 365 would refer to December 31.

Freeze By
This date indicates when a product should be frozen to maintain peak quality as long as it's frozen.

How to Know If Food Has Gone Bad
We are going to share general guidelines as to how long different types of foods are safe to eat — keyword here being general. What's most important to know about food safety are the signs of spoilage.

According to the USDA, "If the date passes during home storage, a product should still be safe and wholesome if handled properly until the time spoilage is evident." Common signs of spoilage include an off odor, flavor, or texture due to naturally occurring spoilage bacteria. Of course, mold is also an indicator.

But sometimes, even the sight or sniff test isn't enough to determine whether or not food has gone bad. Refer to the chart below for general guidelines from the USDA on when it's time to toss and when it's not

Date & Time

September 29, 2024

Additional Dates

This event also occurs on:
12/22/2024, 03/23/2025, 06/22/2025, 09/28/2025 and 2 other dates

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