Departamento ng Kapaligiran ng San Francisco  (San Francisco Department of the Environment) 

Safe or Spoiled


Expiration dates on packaged food can be confusing. Your nose should clue you in to obvious spoilage. 

  • "Best before" and "use by" dates relate to peak flavor or quality, not to food safety. 
  • "Sell by" dates help the store determine how long to display a product. The product is still good to eat for a period after this date. 
  • Leftovers may be good in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

Additional Resources

Learn more about food product dating and storing leftovers. (US Department of Agriculture)
Keep It or Toss It? (Still Tasty) - Searchable guide to shelf life and FAQs
Food storage chart for cupboard, refrigerator, freezer (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
Shelf life guide (FoodWise) - Printable guide on shelf life of common foods
Kitchen Companion: Your Safe Food Handbook (USDA)
FAQs and live chat on food safety, storage, and handling (USDA)
The Dating Game: How Confusing Labels Land Billions of Pounds of Food in the Trash (National Resources Defense Council)

Next tip: Make soup stock.                             Love food? Shop your fridge.



closeup photo of expiration date on carton of milk
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