I fight with people over this all the time. So I thought I would do a brief post on the subject.
Every year, about 40 percent of all food in the United States goes uneaten. Wasted because of dates on them. When this food is totally good eats.
Understanding what the dates on your food mean can help to avoid some of that waste.
This is the basics of food expiration dates.
Use-By, Best if Used By, Best By, Best Before
These are the words mostly found on shelf stable foods, canned goods, things like peanut butter of condiments. This is more or less a provided voluntarily by the manufacturer. This date just says it is freshest if used by that date.
USDA site says:
- A "Best if Used By (or Before)" date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
- A "Use-By" date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.
Is not on may things. It is mostly found on formula and baby foods because of federal regulations. And when it comes to children I just would not take any chances.
Is on meat, chicken, fish and milk type products. The date is there to let you know how long it has been on the shelf. If properly refrigerated milk can last up to a week after it’s sell by date. And meats a few days.
Are though odd jumbled up codes that seem to make no senses This is because most of them are codes just in-case a recall is needed. So do also include the date of packaging which can at the least help guide you.
Remember to Rotate
This is also a good reminder why you must always rotate your prep's! Don't just stockpile it somewhere. Use it and replace it with newer foods.
When checking food, use your eyes, nose and common sense. If the container is damaged or rusty, throw it out.
Some good examples are of all of this is....
- Salt last FOREVER!!
- Spam also will last FOREVER!
- Lard will store FOREVER if unopened
- Instant potatoes many do not even have a date on them because The flakes are too dry to support the growth of microorganisms.
Shelf life reference Click Here
Food shelf-life Pdf Click Here.