It can be true to most of the dieters that the fast metabolism diet program teaches us to be picky with foods as a result, we can now easily identify which food is good and bad for our body. We’ve discovered how healthy and energetic we can be by just eating the right foods. Because of this knowledge, we become wary in choosing the foods to consume.
If possible, we stick with organic foods and avoid the genetically modified organism produce. We started checking the ingredients on the foods we’re purchasing to make sure it’s not filled with artificial sweeteners and colorants. However, most of us find the expiration dates on the food labels confusing. What do these expiration dates exactly mean? Is it highly discourage to consume these foods beyond its expiration dates? Does expiration dates affect our food and health safety? In this blog post, we will address this important issue and help you ease your confusion and anxiety. Let’s discuss the truth behind these expiration dates.
- Use-By, Best if Used by, Best By, Best Before
These terms are generally found in shelf stable products such as mustard, mayonnaise and peanut butter. These terms generally tells you how long the product will be at its best quality when unopened. After the “expiration date” has passed, you will start to notice some gradual changes on the unopened product, such as its texture, color, appearance or flavor.
But it doesn’t mean that this product is now dangerous for consumption. As long as you’re following the standard and optimal food storage guidelines, you can generally consume these foods beyond its given date.
Tip: Remember to always discard the foods with foul odor, flavor or appearance.
- Sell By
This term is generally found on perishable products like meat, seafood, poultry and milk. The date displayed on these foods served as a guide for the store owners to know how long they can display a particular product.
Tip: It is important that you buy these products before the sell-by date expires. Keep in mind that you can still store and consume these products as long as you follow safety storage guidelines.
For example, you can generally consume a milk for about a week after the Sell By date had passed, given that it has been refrigerated well.
- Expires On
You will likely encounter this term on infant formulas and baby foods. In this case, it is important to always use the product before its expiration date passed.
- Packing Codes
The packing codes are a series of letters and numbers on foods. These generally help the manufacturers and local stores rotate, monitor and locate their products in event of product recall. Also, these package codes are sometimes use as an indicator if the product is GMO or organic.
We hope this information has shed some light about the roles of expiration dates in our food and safety. Before you decide to discard that food, think first carefully. This will help you maximize the foods you have and save more money.
PS: Take note that the terms used in this article is based in United States Food and Safety Inspection Services. Food terminologies and practices may differ in other countries.