Cutting corners when shopping or getting food means I may have to stop at the food shelf or food support center to pick up a bag to get me through. Many of the things that I am given have dates close to or already expired and I need to be smart about when to use what I get and not get sick.
I take a LONG time to shop – I check labels and dates… for me it allows me to stay healthy.
Best if used by and use-by date: “If used by this date —– the product should be still fresh to eat. After this date, the product begins to deteriorate, although it may still be edible. It is not a purchase-by or safety date.
Sell-by or pull-by date:
This tells the store to take the product off the shelves. Often stores donate this food to our food shelves and we are grateful and feel blessed. You may find good discounts or ask for a deal on these products because there is still a short time for home use. Use it in your next meals – don’t save it. Example: Milk has a sell-by date, but the milk will usually still be good for a week after that date if properly refrigerated.
Pack date:This is the date the item was packed, most-used on canned and boxed goods. It is often a hard to understand code. It may be coded by month (M), day (D), and year (Y), such as YYMMDD or MMDDYY. Or it may be coded using Julian (JJJ) numbers, where January 1 would be 001 and December 31 would be 365. If in doubt ask or call the customer service number on the product.