When we’re in the supermarket we often use expiration date for food to help guide us. We will look for the expiry date furthest away and avoid any products that are too near their expiry date. However, we also carry this tactic home with us. As this infographic from Lakeshore Convention Centre outlines, when we look in the fridge and try figure out if something has gone off, the first thing we will usually do is look at the expiration date. We very rarely actually check does the food taste or smell likes it’s gone off.
What people must remember is that expiration dates are only a general indicator of a product’s freshness; they have absolutely no bearing on whether a product is safe to eat or not. For example, best-before dates are there to inform you about a product’s peak freshness and if your food is a day or two after that date it is generally still absolutely perfect to consume. Find out more below!
Can Food Expiration Date
According to the USDA or United States Department of Agriculture, “canned foods are safe indefinitely as long as they are not exposed to freezing temperatures, or temperatures above 90 °F (32.2° C). If the cans look okay, they are safe to use. Discard cans that are dented, rusted, or swollen. High-acid canned foods (tomatoes, fruits) will keep their best quality for 12 to 18 months; low-acid canned foods (meats, vegetables) for 2 to 5 years”. 80 °F (27 °C).
“Sell by date” is a less ambiguous term for what is often referred to as an “expiration date”. Most food is still edible after the expiration date. A product that has passed its shelf life might still be safe, but quality is no longer guaranteed. In most food stores, waste is minimized by using stock rotation.