After the date passes, while it may not be the freshest quality, refrigerated products should be safe if handled properly and kept at 40 degrees F or below for the recommended storage times.Some shoppers will go by the dates on food purchasing guides—provided below.
Eggs can last 5 weeks past the date on the carton, but only if they are stored properly. In those little egg holders on the door -- the same door that is exposed to warm air every time we open the fridge. Does it mean the product will be unsafe to use after that date?Here is some of the background information regarding these questions on food dating that we are all faced with on a regular basis.Some products even use what is called a Julian Date, which is perfectly understandable as long as you're a mathematician. In other words, almost all food dating relates to the quality of the product, not its safety."The quality characteristics of foods (taste, aroma and appearance -- as distinct from safety characteristics) often depend in great part on good storage conditions: temperature and humidity control in the retail store and warehouse," Herndon said.Although 20 states do have regulations concerning product dating, most dates are only guidelines and strictly advisory in nature.This dating occurs on all perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. This code is merely for tracking purposes and is used only for recalls if needed. Food handling practices at home will also help, as in, defrosting meats in the microwave or in the refrigerator rather than sitting on the counter all day.
So, what do you do if the food product looks, smells, or tastes “okay”? And, in any case, just be aware of the look, taste, and texture of food you are served away from home and outdoors. If you have any questions, call the store you purchased the food from, and/or follow the charts above.
Although you should buy the product before the "sell by" date, it will still be edible beyond this date as long as it was stored properly.
For example, milk might lose quality after the "sell by" date, but it should still be good 7 days past the date. The product will be at its peak quality and taste until this date.
There I was, a grown man staring at that "use by" date and thinking, "Will eating this mean a trip to the emergency room? Millions of consumers experience the confusion of product dating, primarily because it confusing. Except for infant formula and some baby food, USDA regulations do not generally require product dating.
One package might have a "sell by" date, another a "best before" date, and yet another, a "use by" date. And as for the FDA, widely seen as the nation's primary enforcer of food and drug safety laws, it largely stays out of food dating. "Because the expiration date is not indicative of product quality if storage conditions have been less than optimal, the FDA does not require expiration dates on most products," said Michael L. Herndon said that even the dates required on infant formula are "use by" dates, not "expiration" dates.
"Best before" has nothing to do with the safety of the product and you do not need to purchase the product by this date.