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In this case the "Best if used by" date on the label of the product is an indication whether or not the quality of the food is good.It is commonly found on perishable foods such as meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products.There are two types of dating that are usually displayed on a food product: "Open dating" and "Closed or coded dating." Even if the "use by" or "sell by" date hasn't passed, foodborne pathogens can still contaminate foods that aren't properly stored and handled.Always wash your hands, separate raw foods from ready-to-eat foods, cook to proper temperatures and refrigerate foods promptly.Immediately adjacent to the date a phrase explaining the meaning of the date such as “sell by” or “use before” must be displayed.The date does not correspond to the date by which the product must be consumed to ensure food safety; rather, the date is indicated for product quality.
According to the USDA, even if a use-by date expires during home storage, “a product should be safe, wholesome, and of good quality – if handled properly and kept at 40F or below.” If food develops an off odor, flavor, or appearance due to spoilage bacteria, the food should be discarded for quality reasons.
In the case of infant formula, if stored too long, it can separate and clog the nipple. Do not buy or use baby formula or baby food after its “use-by” date.
Can Codes: A tool for recalls and inventory control Food cans must display packing codes to enable tracking in the event of a recall.
Package Food Dates: “Use By” or “Use Before” Some food manufacturers use “open dating,” or calendar dates stamped on a food product’s package, to help retailers determine how long to display a product for sale.
If an open date is shown on a product, both the month and day of the month (and year for shelf-stable and frozen products) must be displayed on the product packaging.