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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.
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.
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.
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 aol.com 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.
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.
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.