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Ask the Expert Archive

How long is food good for after the expiration date? Including milk?

Q. How long is food good for after the expiration date? Including milk?


A. Food packaging can contain different dates. Often times you will see a “use by” date which means the food is at its peak quality and once this date has passed the quality will decline. Typically, perishable foods may be frozen by the ‘use by’ date for later use without any loss to the quality. Packaging will sometimes have a “sell by” date. This date is for grocery stores. If a food has not sold by this date they will toss it or mark it down for quick sale. The food is usually still good for a few days, but the quality will start to decline. Labels with “best if used by” date means that the food will be at its best if you used by this date, but does not mean the food is spoiled. Again, the food is at its peak up to the ‘best if used by’ date. Lastly, food labels have an expiration date. Foods that have reached the expiration date should not be consumed for safety and health reasons. Visit our Fruit and Vegetable Database for information on proper storage.

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