The phrases and dates on food packaging can be confusing. But they deliver information that’s useful when you’re grocery shopping and when you’re deciding whether to keep or toss perishable foods. Here are the most common phrases seen on food packages, and how they are defined by the USDA:
Provides guidance to the store about how long to display the product for sale. While this date allows for reasonable amount of time for you to use the food at home, you should buy the product before this date passes.
Best If Used By (or Before)
Recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
The last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality; determined by the manufacturer.
Always choose the latest dates available on the shelf to give yourself enough time to use the product at its peak of quality and safety. If you’re not sure that the dairy product is safe to eat, it’s best to discard it.
U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodKeeper App
U.S Department of Agriculture’s: Your Safe Food Handbook