Is All of the Food in Your House Safe to Eat?

Lisa Milbrand Updated: Mar. 19, 2020 and Tiffany Gagnon Updated: Oct. 26, 2020

Confused by “best by,” “sell by,” and “use by”? You’re not alone. In fact, a Harvard University study found that more than 90 percent of Americans throw away perfectly good food due to label confusion—resulting in 398,000 tons of food waste each year. Because, as it turns out, those eggs with a sell-by date don’t suddenly turn rotten at midnight.

Double-check: Is it really an expiration date?

Not every date you see on your food is an expiration date. Here are four common food label dates you may see in the grocery store and what they really mean, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA):

Sell-by date: How long the store can display the product
Use-by date: The last date that the product is at peak quality
Best if used by date: The best date for flavor and quality
Closed by date or coded dates: The numbers and letters used by the manufacturer to indicate the day and time the product was packed

So what should you dispose of that might be in your refrigerator? Egg substitutes, soft cheese, old condiments, mayo-based salads (tuna, chicken, egg, potato, etc.), ground meats. I have, or had, all of these things. Read more HERE and HERE.

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