Use-by, Best-by, Sell-by | Food Expiration Dates by Ken Jorgustin for Modern Survival Blog
What do Expiration Dates Mean?
Many are confused about what these ‘Use-by’, ‘Best-by’, and ‘Sell-by’ dates really mean.
Use-by and Best-by Dates
The ‘Use-by’ and ‘Best-by’ dates are intended for consumer use.
It is the date the manufacturer deems the product reaches peak freshness.
It’s NOT a date to indicate spoilage, nor does it necessarily signal that the food is no longer safe to eat.
The ‘Sell-by’ date is only intended to help manufacturers and retailers, not consumers.
The ‘Sell-by’ date is a stocking and marketing tool provided by food makers to ensure proper turnover of the products in the store so they still have a long shelf life after consumers buy them. Consumers, however, are misinterpreting it as a date to guide their buying decisions. Some say that “Sell-by” dates should be made invisible to the consumer.
Millions of Pounds of Food Wasted
Use-by dates are contributing to millions of pounds of wasted food each year.
A report from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic says Americans are prematurely throwing out food, largely because of confusion over what “expiration dates” actually mean.
More than 90% of Americans throw out food prematurely. 40% of the U.S. food supply is tossed out unused every year because of food dating.
Most people do not understand what ‘Use-by’, ‘Best-by’, and ‘Sell-by’ dates really mean on their foods. Actually they are not “expiration” dates. Read on…
The fact that so much food is thrown out is stunning, and unbelievably wasteful…
Dates are Not Necessarily About Safety
Most consumers mistakenly believe that “expiration dates” on food indicate how safe the food is to consume. These dates actually are NOT related to the risk of food poisoning or food-borne illness.