What Date Labels Actually Mean
With the exception of baby formula, there are no federal regulations on date labeling. Often the "best if used by," "sell by," and "use by" designations are just a manufacturer's best guess about how long their food will taste its freshest. Supermarkets may also use the dates as a guide when stocking shelves. But the dates have little to do with how safe the food is.duce waste.
Nonperishable items like grains and dried and canned goods can still be used well past their label dates. Meat, dairy, and eggs carry shorter shelf lives, but generally speaking one of the best way to know whether a perishable food has spoiled is simply to "trust your taste buds and sense of smell." When in doubt, throw it out.
Foods past their prime often develop mold, bacteria, and yeast, causing them to give warning signs to your senses. Spoiled food will usually look different in texture and color, smell unpleasant, and taste bad before it becomes unsafe to eat.
Also, a good rule of thumb is to throw out a perishable item after 2 hours at room temperature or half that time if sitting out in the hot summer heat.
This year, an estimated 1 in 6 Americans will get sick from food poisoning. Find out what you can do to keep you and your family safe.
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