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Posted by Joan Salge Blake October 2, 2012 12:59 PM
|Source: Nutrition and You|
Keep in mind that the date on the food package does not refer to food safety, but to the quality of the food. In other words, this is the date by which you should consume the product in order to enjoy it at its best quality. According to the FDA, whenever you see a date on the label, there must be a phrase next to the date that tells you how to interpret it.
Of course, any food that has spoiled and gives off an off odor or appearance, regardless of the date, should be discarded as the quality as deteriorated.
Now, the big question: Suppose you find a package of raw chicken buried in your refrigerator and the “Best Used By” expired yesterday, is it still safeto eat? This is a tricky question because if the food has been mishandled, such as left at room temperature for over two hours before refrigerating, it could increase your risk of foodborne illness whether or not the date has expired.
However, if the food has been handled properly and kept in the refrigerator at 40 °F or below, it should be safe, wholesome and of good quality, according to the FDA. In this situation, follow these guidelines from the FDA for uncooked and cooked perishable items:
Note: If product has a "use-by" date, follow that date. If product has a "sell-by" date or no date, cook or freeze the product by the times on the above charts. Source: FDA
Always remember: When in doubt, toss it out!
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Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.
The author is solely responsible for the content.
About the authorJoan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »
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