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You CAN definitely teach an old dog a new trick! doccindy 3 Food Dates

When Does Food Really Expire?

I take things very literally. This could be just me, maybe how I was raised, or possibly because I am a college professor, but either way, I do. I am a stickler for expiration dates listed as “sell by” dates, “best by” dates, and “use by” dates on food. I have since learned that this is one thing that I can relax on with a little more knowledge. My third installment in this blog series is what I learned about food expiring.

Many people read the expiration dates and stick with them. One survey I read said that 91% of the individuals in the study were strict about these dates. The more I looked into these dates, the more I found that they were specified dates that were merely estimates of when the product is deemed at the best quality to eat.


Believe it, or not this surfaced when I found a dozen eggs that I forgotten in the back of the refrigerator that we have in the garage. There were no dates that I was able to see listed on them. I just was not sure they were safe to eat. A friend suggested that I crack open the eggs and smell them. I wrestled with this method since that meant I needed to use the egg right then if it passed the sight and smell test.

Remember place the eggs in a deep bowl of water and watch them. If they lay flat, they are very fresh. However, if they rise up on one end they are a few weeks old, but still good to eat. The warning sign is when the egg is rising to the top of the bowl and floats. This action indicates the eggs are not fresh and not good to eat.

What is the difference between “Best By” and “Use By” dates?

Most often you see these dates noted on products, but research now shows that these dates are extremely misleading. The “Best By” and “Use By” are guesses by the manufacturers, and the dates only apply to unopened goods. Note that “unopened goods” is the term where the confusion lies.

My Experience

Let’s take this cashew milk as an example. The date on the carton is 5/14/17. Reading the fine print is rarely done. It does say that once opened then you have a week to 10 days to consume the entire carton. I now pay attention to that.

I have bought almond milk that has July expiration dates, but the same “drink in a week” applies. If I don’t finish it in a week, it needs to go. There is a false sense that it is still okay for use with the later date on it! I was literally throwing it away now and had someone question why since the date was still no where near the expiration time.

If all fails, you can go back to the smelling and look at the food test. Stay away from anything funky for sure! Knowing the information and this trick does help save money.

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I am a health, fitness and wellness coach, college professor, and mother of older kids who wants to help other older women and moms meet their goals. I offer free coaching - Click here to contact me! Or, get more information about my VIP Program!!

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