Home Consumer Mayo Clinic Minute: Decoding Food Dates (Video)

Mayo Clinic Minute: Decoding Food Dates (Video)

food dating

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there is no uniform or universally accepted system used for food dating across America. There are some common freshness codes stamped on items in stores, but the information can be confusing. 

In this Mayo Clinic Minute, dietitian Angie Murad decodes the dates and explains that most don’t have anything to do with expiration. Jeff Olsen reports. 

All of these products are stamped with dates, but only this one is a true expiration. The only things that are required by federal law to have an expiration date are infant formulas and some baby foods. If they are past that expiration date, throw them out. Mayo Clinic dietitian Angie Murad says most of the markings we see on foods are simply suggestions. That includes this sell-by date. It’s a recommendation for retailers.

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ANGIE MURAD DIETITIAN Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program:

Reporter: The sell-by date tells the store exactly how long they can display the product on their shelves. The sell-by date tells the store exactly how long they can display the product on their shelves. The best-if-used-by stamp is a suggestion for consumers about how long a product will maintain its best flavor. A use-by mark is determined by the manufacturer and is considered the final peak freshness date for the product. So, if you use it before or at the day, you’ll have the best and highest-quality product. And, you can use it after that day, if you store it safely. In the proper temperatures, either refrigerator or in your freezer.

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For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I’m Jeff Olsen.