Food Expiration Date – What You Should Now

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food expiration date

As seniors we have to be extra cautious but what food should be thrown out and what can you eat after the expiration date? Here are the answers.

I read an article that 90% of the people in the United States have no idea what all the dates mean on the food that they buy.

That article mentioned that a lot of food gets thrown out at the “expiration date” or “Use By Date”.

“The date on the package had nothing to do with spoilage. All it means is that the taste and texture are the best before that date.”

So, should you throw away food after the expiration date? It all depends on what type of food you are talking about.

Here Are Some Facts About Food Labeling.

  • By federal law, there are no dates required but some states require them.
  • The USDA mentions that the date is just to let you know when the product has the best taste and texture.

Dates on packages have nothing to do with food safety.

What Do The Dates Mean?

There is sometimes more than one date on a package and here is what they mean.

Sell By Date

You will find these mostly on refrigerated products such as milk and cheese.

The stores use this to know when to remove them from the shelves. However, you can eat that food after the sell-by date.

For example, eggs are still good to eat for at least 3 weeks after that date. Dairy can still be used for about a week after that date.

Best If Use By Date

This means nothing else than after that date the taste might change but there is no spoilage at all.

Use By Date

This is the date that the food still has the best quality. It will probably be still safe to eat after that date.

Some dates are used only by the manufacturer to track down the date it was made in case of a problem.

Stop Wasting Food.

I guess we are programmed to throw out food after the expiration date but this is not necessarily something that we have to d.

Of course, there are foods that spoil. Think of foods as meats, baby food, and medication to mention a few.

Foods that are canned basically never expire and have a long shelf life as long as they are not damaged.   

Frozen food never goes bad but the taste can change after a long time in the freezer. We all know the term freezer burnt. This, however, does not mean the product is not good for consumption anymore.

“Use your nose and eyes and not the date on a package”

If you open a package after the date on it just smell it and see if the texture has changed.

Even senior meals that you order online can be kept a long time when kept frozen.

I have eaten canned food that was 2 years over the date and it tasted just fine.

We do a lot of canning with the food from our little garden and they stay sometimes on the shelf for years before we use them.

However, when I doubt just throw it out. Better safe than sorry. Food poisoning is nothing to play with.

Eddie Vandam

Eddie Vandam, the voice behind the Senior Citizen Website, is a retired internet marketer and proud senior. With a passion for helping fellow seniors navigate the complexities of aging, Eddie shares his insights on health, independence, products, and enriching hobbies. He’s committed to making senior years both fulfilling and enjoyable. Read more about Eddie Vandam.

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