Understanding Expiration Dates on Food

Woman Looking at Expiration Date on Carton
Food packagers are required to post expiration dates on their products for the information of the consumer. The date is in many cases a "best by" type of information. Many foods are perfectly safe past this date, but the consumer needs to use their best judgement. This is a page about understanding expiration dates on food.

6 Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

July 20, 2005

When I buy yogurt, sour cream, pre-packaged deli meat, etc, I know they have an expiration date. Sometimes the date may be a month or two away. My question is, once I open sour cream (for example), is it still good till the expiration date or is that date more for purchasing? I don't want to throw away good food but I usually feel like the items are old within a week or so.



By Joan in CT (Guest Post)
July 21, 20050 found this helpful
Best Answer

Hi Ann,
The expiration dates are for the protection of the public. Stores cannot sell anything past its expire date. Yogurt is something which can be kept far past its expiration date at least a month. I do it all the time and it still tastes great.


The expire date has nothing to do with how long the item will be good after opening. Once anything is opened, it only has a certain time amount to be used.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
November 1, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Use your own judgment. You can tell by smelling or tasting if food has gone bad. I have even used mine a week past its expiration date. And you know how milk stinks if it is bad. I am 77 years old so I know what I am talking about. I have used a lot of foods past the expiration date and I am still kicking.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 278 Feedbacks
November 1, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Expiration dates, best used by or sell by are for the public to know how old the items are. This does not mean that the items are bad or can't be eaten after that date. Just means use your best judgment. We all eat or buy bread past its date. I have eaten yogurt at least two months old. It looked good, smelled fine, and tasted fine and I was fine.


Dmkimbley AT is correct and has given good advice. Don't be so intimated by those dates. They are just guides to sell the products in a timely manner. Nobody wants to buy food off the shelf that is three years old, that is why it is dated.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question

November 8, 2017

You can see if your eggs float when they are past their sell by date. If they float, they are not good and should be thrown out. This is a page about using eggs after their "sell by" date.

One carton of eggs.

Read More... Pin it! Was this helpful? Yes

December 9, 2016

This is a page about finding the expiration date of Hershey's cocoa. It can be difficult to tell if your baking supplies are still good from year to year.

A cup of cocoa surrounded by cocoa powder.

Read More... Pin it! Was this helpful? Yes
Consumer Advice Tips for ConsumersFebruary 14, 2018
Halloween Ideas!
Thanksgiving Ideas!
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Better LivingBudget & FinanceBusiness and LegalComputersConsumer AdviceCoronavirusCraftsEducationEntertainmentFood and RecipesHealth & BeautyHolidays and PartiesHome and GardenMake Your OwnOrganizingParentingPetsPhotosTravel and RecreationWeddings
Published by ThriftyFun.
Desktop Page | View Mobile
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Generated 2022-10-24 16:20:00 in 1 secs. ⛅️️
© 1997-2022 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.