What does the date on a package mean?

  • Salvage Unlimited is committed to your satisfaction.
  • We want you to know about food dating and the value we provide on safe and high quality products! Many close dated products we sell have a great freshness and quality beyond the “best by date”.
  • Tennessee state law DOES allow for the sale of expired food. We are committed to never selling a product that appears or is unsafe or in anyway dangerous.
  • Below is some data on safe dating of food products provided by consumer reports website.

Another reference is the consumer affairs website regarding product dating.

  • “Use by,” “best if used by,“ or “quality assurance” date: The last date the product is likely to be at peak flavor and quality. One of these dates is often placed on foods such as cereal, which may decline in flavor and quality. It doesn’t mean the food is unsafe after that date.
  • “Sell by” or “pull”: An indication, to the retailer, of the last day on which a product should be sold. It takes into account time for the food to be stored and used at home. You should buy it before the date, but don’t have to use it by then. You should be able to use milk, say, for up to about seven days after the sell-by date.
  • Pack or package date: The date the food–fresh meat, for example–was packed or processed. Consumers can tell which package is fresher and choose that one. A pack date isn’t an indication of safety.
  • “Expiration”: For most foods, this indicates the last date on which they should be eaten or used. Eggs are an exception: If you buy federally graded eggs before the expiration date (which must be no more than 30 days from when they were put in the carton), you should be able to use them safely for the next 3 to 5 weeks.
  • “Born on”: Initiated by Anheuser-Busch, it’s supposed to let buyers choose the freshest beer. According to the company, its beer is freshest and tastes best within 110 days from the born-on date.
  • Coded date: A series of letters or numbers or both used by the manufacturer to track foods across state lines and, if necessary, recall them. The code isn’t meant as a use-by date.
  • Other words to the wise: As a rule, high-acid canned foods such as tomatoes can be stored on the shelf for 12 to 18 months; properly stored low-acid canned foods such as meat, fish, and most vegetables will keep 2 to 5 years. Don’t use a can that’s bulging. If perishable foods are packaged and frozen properly, they will be safe to eat after the expiration date, although the food may suffer freezer burn if it’s stored for a long time. And if a food bears a date without words? Unfortunately, you’ll have to guess what it means.