What’s the Deal with Expiration Dates?

Did you know approximately 90 billion pounds of edible food in the US gets thrown away each year?

The dates on food labels can be deceiving and down right confusing, which can lead to perfectly good and safe food being tossed in the trash.  In reality, you really can use the dates as a guide for freshness, rather than an indicator that food has spoiled.

In general, most foods can be consumed days, weeks, even months past the dates printed on their label. However, there are some dates we should follow closely:

  • Baby formula
  • Deli meats, unpasteurized dairy products, ready-to-eat cold foods, uncooked hot dogs & sausages.
  • Pasteurized dairy products tend to have a gracious life (take a whiff, you’ll know if it’s past it’s prime)
  • Eggs can be eaten 3-5 weeks after “use by” date. (FYI: older eggs make better hard boiled eggs!)

If there’s visible mold (green spots or white fuzz) a funky smell or a slimy texture, toss it!

For more information on how YOU can do your part in reducing food waste, click here!

Resources: USDA FSI Food Product Dating, USDA Food Waste Challenge