How To Read Expiration Dates – The Business Champion
Published On: September 13, 2023 | Categories: Food |
How To Read Expiration Dates
Understand the Terminology:
“Expiration Date” or “Use By Date” indicates the last date a product is guaranteed to be safe and effective.
“Best Before Date” or “Sell By Date” suggests the peak quality or freshness of the product but may still be safe to consume after this date.
Check the Label Location:
Look for the expiration date on the product packaging. It can be printed in various locations, such as on the top, bottom, or sides.
Interpret the Format:
Dates can be presented in various formats, including month/day/year (MM/DD/YYYY), day/month/year (DD/MM/YYYY), or year/month/day (YYYY/MM/DD).
Some products use codes or alphanumeric representations, which might require decoding based on the manufacturer’s information.
Be Aware of Numerical Codes:
If a product uses a code, consult the manufacturer’s website or customer service for assistance in deciphering the code.
Consider the Type of Product:
Perishable items like dairy, meat, and seafood usually have shorter expiration dates.
Non-perishable items, such as canned goods, often have longer shelf lives.
Storage Conditions Matter:
The accuracy of expiration dates depends on proper storage. Improper storage can lead to products spoiling earlier than indicated.
Perform a Sensory Check:
If the date has passed, use your senses (smell, appearance, and taste) to assess the product’s freshness and safety. When in doubt, err on the side of caution.
Consult Local Guidelines:
Some countries or regions may have specific regulations regarding date labeling, so familiarize yourself with local guidelines if applicable.
Consider the Product’s Packaging:
Vacuum-sealed and airtight packaging can extend the shelf life of products compared to those in regular packaging.
When purchasing groceries, follow the “first in, first out” (FIFO) principle to ensure you use older products before newer ones.
Use Common Sense:
Trust your judgment; if a product looks, smells, or tastes off, it’s safer to discard it, even if the expiration date hasn’t passed.
Donate Unexpired Food:
If you have non-expired food items that you don’t plan to use but are still within their date, consider donating them to a local food bank or shelter.
Remember that expiration dates are there to guide you, but they are not always strict deadlines for when a product becomes unsafe or loses all quality. Always prioritize safety and quality when determining whether to consume a product past its date.
Don’t let food dates befuddle you! Join the movement to combat date label confusion – over 80% of Americans toss out perfectly good food due to this dilemma. It’s time for a change!
Unveiling Date Label Secrets:
“Sell-By” Date: Just for stores to know. Grab before for peak freshness.
“Best if Used By”: Taste’s peak – not a safety alarm.
“Use-By” Date: Top quality according to the maker.
“Closed or Coded Dates”: Numbers for the manufacturer’s reference.