Types of food dating

Date labeling on food products is a source of confusion for many Americans, according to a new NSF International survey.The survey found that many people are unsure how to interpret common dates found on food product labels, such as sell by, use by and best used by dates, which is causing some to prematurely throw away good food while others are keeping bad food too long. population (51 percent) throws out food based on the “best used by” and another third (36 percent) throws out food based on the “sell by” date, leading to unnecessary food waste and higher grocery bills.(The Food and Drug Administration says your fridge should be set no higher than 40° F.) Also, a good rule of thumb is to throw out a perishable item after 2 hours at room temperature or half that time in high heat.Also keep all food preparation surfaces clean and avoid cross-contamination of raw meat and other grocery items.Foodborne illness comes from contamination, not from the natural process of decay.

Helps store determine time to display products, Help the purchaser know time limits to use the product at its best quality, not a safety date.

The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.

For more information on dating, go to Food Product Dating.

In many cases, dates are conservative, so if you eat the food past that date, you may not notice any difference in quality, especially if the date has recently passed.

As a general rule of thumb, most canned foods (for example, canned tuna, soups, and vegetables) can be stored for two to five years, and high-acid foods (canned juices, tomatoes, pickles) can be stored for a year up to 18 months, according to the USDA. That might be a sign it’s time to toss those products.

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Ninety percent of Americans misinterpret the dates on labels, according to a recent study from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and throw out food that could still be consumed or frozen for later use.

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