We are all stretching our supplies as much as we can these days, so knowing what 'sell by and 'best if used by' dates really mean is important.

We went to the USDA website to get the exact definitions of these product markings so we could have a little more clarity. Here are the definitions of the most common date label phrases...

"Best if Used By/Before" date indicates when a product will be of best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
"Sell-By" date tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management. It is not a safety date..
“Use-By" date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. It is not a safety date except for when used on infant formula.
“Freeze-By” date indicates when a product should be frozen to maintain peak quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.

That's great info to keep in mind, but how long is food good for after the  sell by date?

One source, Eating Well makes these suggestions about how long certain foods are good for past the 'sell by' dates ...

Ground meat and poultry (1-2 days past the date)

Beef (3-5 days past the date)

Eggs (3-5 weeks past the date)

You should certainly do your own research to satisfy your own mind, and use your own experiences to help you decide. Stay healthy everyone!

Enter your number to get our free mobile app

More From Monmouth & Ocean Counties