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Fast Facts: The Truth Behind Food Expiration Dates

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How long a food product remains safe to eat depends more on how it’s been stored and handled than on its expiration date. Still, it’s a good idea to select products with the latest dates. Here’s what some dates mean:

  • “Sell by” indicates when products should be pulled from the shelf, but it isn’t illegal for stores to stock products past this date. Sometimes stores reduce the price of such goods.
  • “Best if used by” or “use by” ensures that the product is at its best quality, after which it may deteriorate in flavor, texture or appearance, but it may still be safe.
  • “Expires on” or “EXP” is the last date a product should be used, though there are some exceptions.

In general, buy foods before their sell-by dates, and observe use-by dates. Foods past their dates are often still safe, but only when handled and stored properly. Dates on cans mean “best if used by,” but when stored in a cool, dry place and not damaged, the contents may be safe indefinitely, even if taste degrades. 


Posted in Nutrition and Weight Control on October 19, 2015

Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician. Click here for additional information: Health After 50 Disclaimer

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