If you’re a regular reader of this site, you know we’ve covered the topic of sell-by dates before.
If you don’t read us regularly, here’s what we’re talking about:
What is the difference between “sell by” and “expiration” dates?
The term “sell by” refers to a specific date when a food item must be purchased in order for the store or manufacturer to legally sell it.
For example, if you buy an apple at the grocery store, the label will say something like “Sell by 10/01/2021.”
This means that the apple has to be bought by 10/01/2021 in order for the store to legally sell it.
On the other hand, the term “expiration” refers to the point when the food becomes unsafe to eat.
In other words, when the food becomes unappealing and tastes bad.
For example, if you buy a loaf of bread at the grocery store, its label may say something like “Expiration Date 12/15/2020.”
This means that the bread must be eaten by 12/15/2020 in order for the store to legally sell it.
In both cases, as long as you purchase the item by the specified date, you can eat it without any concerns.
However, once the date passes, the food is no longer safe to eat.
Is it safe to consume food after the “sell by” date?
As long as you purchased the food within the required time frame (i.e., before the sell-by date), there’s nothing wrong with eating it.
You can consume the food right up until the sell-by date, even though it technically isn’t safe to eat anymore.
Why do food manufacturers include “sell by” dates on their products?
Manufacturers put sell-by dates on their products because they want to give shoppers a sense of security regarding when the food is okay to eat.
Manufacturers also use sell-by dates to encourage customers to purchase the items before the sell-by date so that stores can keep them stocked.
How long can I store food after the “sell by” date?
You can store food indefinitely after the sell-by date.
In fact, some people even recommend eating food past its sell-by date.
Just make sure you follow the proper storage guidelines when storing foods past their sell-by date.
What are the consequences of consuming expired food?
There aren’t really any health hazards associated with eating food past its sell-by date.
That said, there are a few things to consider.
First, the taste of the food could change over time.
Second, the quality of the food could degrade over time.
Third, the shelf life of the food may decrease over time.
All of these factors can affect how good the food actually tastes.
For example, let’s say you buy a loaf of bread that expires on September 1st.
It might taste great right now, but as time goes on, it may start to get stale and lose its freshness.
Or maybe the quality of the bread decreases over time, making it less appealing to eat.
Finally, the shelf life of the bread may decrease over time, meaning that the bread won’t last as long as it used to.
Is it safe to consume food after the “expiration” date?
Once the expiration date passes, the food is no longer safe to eat.
Even if you purchased the food before the expiration date, it’s not safe to eat any longer.
Why do food manufacturers include “expiration” dates on their products?
Food manufacturers place expiration dates on their products because they want to help consumers avoid buying expired food.
And while they do this on purpose, it can sometimes happen accidentally.
For instance, let’s say you buy a loaf of bread from the grocery store.
Its label says “expiration date 9/1/2020.”
When you go back home, you find out that it was supposed to expire on 8/31/2020, but somehow got stuck in transit for a couple extra days.
That same scenario happens all the time, which is why manufacturers include expiration dates on their labels.
They know that a lot of times, the expiration date isn’t accurate.
So they just add a little buffer to the actual expiration date, giving consumers enough time to check the store’s inventory and make sure the item is still safe to eat.
How long can I store food after the “expiration” date?
Again, there’s nothing wrong with eating food past its expiration date.
But make sure you follow the proper storage guidelines when storing food past its expiration date.