People take expiration dates way too seriously. Like we have seen people who used to freeze their ground beef before the expiry date. They would throw out the milk if it’s ‘use by date’ was gone.  We have often seen people throw the boxed stuffing mix that expired last month in the garbage. To find out whether the expiry date is right, we put in some research on different types of expiration labels. We found that food lasts longer than we think. In fact, there are some foods that never really expire.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, food expiration dates are referring to the food quality, not it’s safety. USDA does not require that expiration dates be put on foods like meat, poultry, dairy, boxed foods, and cans (actually, baby formula is the only products that should come with an expiration date).

Expiration labels are added as a helpful guide to retails and consumers. Here are the most common food expiration labels:

  • Best If Used By– This expiration label suggests that a product will be at peak quality before that date. It will still be safe to eat if after that date, but the texture quality and flavor will start to decrease.
  • Use By- Normally, this label is found on perishable items, like mear. It’s still fine to eat that product for a short period after that date has passed, but you shouldn’t wait for too long.
  • Sell By– This label lets retailers know that products should be sold before that particular date. Product Sales are one of the many ways grocery stores try to get old inventory into the consumer’s carts, and we all know it pretty compelling.

The “Use by” label on food is the perfect guide for most of the people. According to a USDA report, Americans waste nearly about 30 percent of food each year. A reason for that could be that we people follow expiration labels too strictly, and sometimes we end up throwing away perfectly good food. It’s a shame that we throw a perfectly consumable food. But as they say, it’s never late to make a  change.

Use your best judgment skills to determine whether the food should be thrown out or not. Instead of looking at the expiration label, look at the food. Does it look alright? Has its texture changed? Or the odor is funky? Knowing what food should look, smell, and feel like it is a life skill that we all should have. It will stop you from consuming bad food and will also prevent you from throwing away food too early.

Final words
So, from the next time, don’t focus much on expiration labels, rather look at food and see whether it’s good to be consumed or not

Bonus fact

The nine foods that never expire are: raw honey, vinegar, cornstarch, salt, dried legumes, sugar, hard liquor, pure vanilla extract, uncooked white rice.