Date labels can be confusing! You might be surprised to find out that those dates aren’t actually standardized or regulated by the government (with the exception of infant formula).

Most dates on food are decided by the manufacturer and aren’t related to food safety. When you see a “Best if Used By” date on a food item, that’s the manufacturer’s best guess about how long that food will have the best flavor and quality. It doesn’t mean the food is bad or unsafe to eat after that date.

So how do you decide when your food has actually “expired”? Use your senses! If it looks good and smells good, it’s likely okay to eat.

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