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Foods with expired sell by dates can still be at their best quality and safe to eat if stored properly.
However, as a consumer, it might be wise to buy inventory at your grocer that has a further out ‘sell by’ date versus one that has already expired.
Many manufacturers voluntarily include ‘use by’ dates because they want their customers to experience their food at its highest quality, in order to grow customer loyalty.
They also serve as a ‘we told you so’ warning if you consume the food or drink after the date and it has gone bad.
There might also be an opportunity to bargain with grocers to get a lower price on foods that are at or past their ‘sell by’ date.
Many grocers automatically mark down foods that are approaching the ‘sell by’ date, and it never hurts to ask those who do not for a discount.
FSIS recommends that you follow ‘use by’ dates, and recommends freezing or cooking the fresh foods by the following timeline with ‘sell by’ or no dates.
An open date must be clearly visible to retail consumers.
Open dates are most commonly found on perishable foods.
An assessment by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that analyzes "consumers' perspectives on open-date labeling; benefits and costs; alternative systems and techniques; alternative criteria and scientific tests to establish open dates; enforcement mechanisms and liability related to open-date labeling; and options available to Congress" (p. The department is a member of the FDLP Content Partnerships Program and an Affiliated Archive of the National Archives.
It is generally recommended that you use a product by its ‘use by’ date.