What Sell-By Dates Mean
- “Best if Used By/Before” date indicates when a product will be of best flavor or quality. It isn’t a purchase or safety date.
- “Sell-By” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management. It isn’t a safety date.
- “Use-By” is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. It is only a safety date on infant formula. The label might also say “Best if Used By” or “Best Before” a specific date.
- “Freeze-By” indicates when a product should be frozen to maintain peak quality. It isn’t a purchase or safety date.
- Closed or Coded “Date” is a packing number the manufacturer uses to track a product in transport and in case of recall. Stores may use these to determine when they got a product and how long to keep it on the shelf.
- “Expiration (EXP) Date” is another type of Sell-By Date. Egg cartons with USDA grade shields must display a “pack date” when they went in the carton.
- What Label is Best?
Are Foods Safe After the Date Passes?
How Long Can Food Be Kept?
Check Your Food Yourself
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