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With an exception of infant formula (described below), if the date passes during home storage, a product should still be safe and wholesome if handled properly until the time spoilage is evident (Chill Refrigerate Promptly).
Spoiled foods will develop an off odor, flavor or texture due to naturally occurring spoilage bacteria.
"Best if Used By" is a type of date you might find on a meat, poultry, or egg product label. Does it mean the product will be unsafe to use after that date?
Here is some background information answering these and other questions about product dating. Two types of product dating may be shown on a product label.
To reduce consumer confusion and wasted food, FSIS recommends that food manufacturers and retailers that apply product dating use a “Best if Used By” date.
[Top of Page] What are the Requirements for Dating Infant Formula? Consumption by this date ensures the formula contains not less than the quantity of each nutrient as described on the label.Except for infant formula, dates are not an indicator of the product’s safety and are not required by Federal law.[Top of Page] How do Manufacturers Determine Quality Dates?If a food has developed such spoilage characteristics, it should not be eaten.Microorganisms such as molds, yeasts, and bacteria can multiply and cause food to spoil.
Additionally, immediately adjacent to the date must be a phrase explaining the meaning of that date such as "Best if Used By." [Top of Page] Are Dates for Food Safety or Food Quality?