Guide to Food Expiration Dates

Food expiration dates matter if you are after freshness. It is a system which allows you to find out if the food is edible or not. However, food expiration dates do not appear in all products. That is because food regulation guidelines are not always properly enforced and maintained.

Due to this fact, expiration dates are termed differently in some products. Learn the different terms synonymous with expiration dates below.

Sell by dates

This refers on how the item or product should remain displayed on shelves. Since the pulling of items is not mandatory in certain stores, you have to reach at the back where the items are fresher. Of course, you have to buy the product before the date expires.

Best before dates

This pertains more on the quality or when a product is in its best. Thus, it is not much of a date that tells if the food is safe enough to eat.

Born on dates

This date refers to the date of manufacture. An example of this product that goes by this type is beer. That is because the beer’s quality drops after three months.

Guaranteed fresh dates

This is more for pastry products like those in a bakery. Though they may be edible after the given date, it may already have lost its freshness.

Pack dates

You have to be careful with these dates that are usually used in canned goods. The date may appear simply as month-date-year. However, the manufacturer of the product may use the Julian calendar, making the standard double-digit numbers for the date appear in three digits.

The usual date of expiration for foods upon storage

  • Milk is at its best up to well after a week.
  • Tomato sauce can go up to 18 months.
  • Canned green beans can lived up to five years.
  • Poultry is best after 1 to 2 days.
  • Beef and pork is fine for up to 3 to 5 days.
  • Ground meat and other meat varieties like liver, tongue, etc. goes for only about 1 to 2 days.
  • Cured ham is good best for about 5 to 7 days.
  • A variety of sausage is good for 1 to 2 days.
  • Eggs can go for about 3 to 5 days.

Tips on food safety

The US Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Services has provided safety food tips that should be followed to ensure the quality of the product. Below are the following tips.

  • Buy the product before the expiration date.
  • If the product is perishable, refrigerate it after purchase.
  • Keep the product frozen if you are not about to consume it.
  • Despite the given expiration date of a product, as long as it stays frozen, it remains safe.