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How Long Is Food Good After the Expiration Date? 5 Terms, 9 Tips

How long after the expiration date is the food good?

Learn the five terms used as expiration dates on food labels to determine if a particular food is still safe to eat.

Lots of food is wasted every year because they are discarded even though they are still safe to eat. This is due to misunderstandings among consumers about food labels. This label may contain an expiration date or may use other words to indicate the shelf-life of the food.

How long the food is good after the expiration date depends on the type of food-If it is a highly perishable item, such as milk, or something that can be stored for a long time, such as packaged, dried spices.

The dates you see on food labels do not always indicate how long it takes for food to spoil. Instead, the dates tell you How long can you store them or eat them in their best condition and ground. You may still be able to take some food products after these dates have passed.

5 different terms that indicate the expiration date of the meal

Federal law does not require food quality dates to be specified on all foods, except Child formula.

You may be confused about the different dates on the label. Knowing their meaning can help you know how long you can store or eat them.

  1. “Sales – by date
    • You will find the date of sale mentioned on the label of most refrigerated products. These dates are to let stores know when to remove certain products from shelves.
    • You can still eat after the sale date. For example, dairy products can be eaten at least one week after the date of sale.
    • Examples of foods that have a sale date include:
      • Milk
      • Eggs
      • Yogurt
      • Cream
      • Meat products
      • Pre-prepared meals
      • Mix salad
  2. “Best to use dates”
    • The “best if used” date indicates the food timeline when it has the best taste and quality. Other than that, your food may not be spoiled but it may not taste as good as before.
    • You can still eat this kind of food a few months after the date. However, carefully observe the packaging দেখুন see if there are any dents or rashes and different flavors or colors. In this case, throw away the packet or box.
    • You can find the “best to use” dates on the label:
      • Canned goods
      • Crackers
      • Cookies
      • Spices
  3. “Use by date
    • This is the last date that guarantees the best quality of a product. It does not indicate product safety except when used in infant formula.
    • Your food may not be the best but it may be good enough to eat after the date of use.
  4. Expiration date
    • Expiration dates can be specified on the label as “expiration” or “do not use later”. Products may not be effective after this date or may have the same texture.
    • You can find the date on the label:
  5. Date of quality assurance
    • This term is used in products with a long shelf life. You can take food after the quality confirmation date.
    • Food products with quality assurance dates include:
      • Boxed macaroni and cheese
      • Serial
      • Almond butter
      • Mayonnaise
      • Bakery items


According to the USDA, there is no difference between “part” and “service”.
See answer

9 Ways to Keep Your Food Fresh and Avoid Waste

Good storage practices can help keep your food fresh for a long time. However, it depends on the type of food.

Here are some simple timelines and tips to keep popular food items fresh for a long time:

  1. Milk can be stored in your fridge for up to seven days. Store it in the back of your fridge where the temperature is coldest.
  2. Eggs can be good for three to five weeks. Like milk, eggs should be stored in the back of your fridge.
  3. Dried rice or pasta in your pantry is good for one to two years. Cooking stays good in your fridge for three to four days.
  4. Cooked meats and chickens are best kept in your fridge for three to four days.
  5. Ground meat and chicken can stay in your fridge for a maximum of two days. If you want to use them a few more days later, freezing them will extend their shelf-life.
  6. Meat is good for two weeks before opening and three to five days after opening.
  7. Freeze the residue quickly to avoid contamination. If the food stays at room temperature for more than two hours, it is unsafe to eat, so avoid it.
  8. If you do not plan to use prepared food now, freeze it.
  9. You can freeze milk, bread and cheese to extend their shelf-life. Beat the eggs first and store in a sealed container in the fridge.

You can use the Foodkeeper app created by the United States Department of Agriculture to find out how long you can store different foods in the fridge.

Latest nutrition, food and recipe news

Medical has been reviewed 4/25/2022


Image Source: iStock Image

US Department of Agriculture. Before you toss food, wait. Look at this!

US Food and Drug Administration. How to cut food waste and maintain food security.

How to tell if it is safe to eat expired food Ceasrine L. Consumer Report.

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