If you want to keep your food fresh for longer time, you should apply the rules of proper food storage. Most food items you buy in stores provide you with certain guidelines you can follow and ensure you eat quality and fresh food. You should know these guidelines to have the most efficient food storage.
You can see the expiration date on most food packaging. It means that you shouldn’t consume that food after this date. The expiration date indicates when the food is supposed to go bad. But, you should realize that this date is approximate and there is a chance that the food still might be fine after this date. But in order to ensure the safety and freshness of food, you shouldn’t consume the food after the expiration date.
There is also use-by-date, which indicates the last day, when the food is considered to be top quality. It doesn’t mean that the food goes bad suddenly the next day. But if you want to get the food in its best quality, it is better to consume it before this date.
The sell-by-date is a guideline for stores. They have to sell the product before a certain date and you shouldn’t buy anything after this date. It is also good to inform the store owner about such products if you find any. But you can also get a great deal on such products, if it is just a couple of days after the sell-by-date, the food should be still fine.
There is also pack date on some food packaging. It doesn’t really tell you anything about how long the food will be good for. It just tells you when the food was processed and packed.
Many food cans and packages also have different codes stamped by the manufacturer. It is possible to understand some of them, but others are quite confusing. If you are really curious about one of the codes, you can call the manufacturer. There is a toll free number you can call and it is often printed on the packaging.
You should also understand that all the food storage guidelines are not completely accurate. It might happen that you milk will go bad before the sell-by-date etc. You should never buy a product in a ripped, broken or dented packaging, because there are more chances this product will go bad faster.
If you see any changes in the food you bought like different smell, color or taste, you should definitely throw it out, no matter what it says on the packaging. And keep in mind that after you open the product, its expiration date changes and even if its shelf life can be over a year, once it is opened, it might go bad in a couple of weeks.
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