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Thread: American Food Techniques "Sell by" and "Best Used By" Labels on Food Packaging

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    Veteran Member grulla's Avatar
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    Default American Food Techniques "Sell by" and "Best Used By" Labels on Food Packaging

    Bethany Moncel
    05/02/19

    Packaged foods often include a printed calendar date that is identified by the words Sell By, Use By, or Best Used By. Consumers often imagine that these dates are a legal requirement, but in reality, only baby formula has any such federally mandated requirements for dating food. In all other cases, these dates are simply "suggestions" from manufacturers as to a time frame for experiencing the best quality from the product. These dates can be confusing or misleading if not fully understood. Cautious consumers may feel that there are severe health dangers if they consume products past these printed dates. Or skeptical consumers might believe that these dates simply exist as a form of built-in obsolescence, coaxing consumers into discarding products so they will buy more. The reality is somewhere in between.

    Continue reading at:
    https://www.thespruceeats.com/sell-b...-dates-1328475
    Last edited by Islander; 3 Weeks Ago at 09:20 PM.

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    Veteran Member grulla's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Food Techniques "Sell by" and "Best Used By" Labels on Food Packaging

    Please excuse the above sloppy posting format, as some website articles can be ornery, difficult, aggravating, and an impossible PITA to copy to HH standards, aaargh!

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Food Techniques "Sell by" and "Best Used By" Labels on Food Packaging

    All fixed. Please note that symbols on the top line of the post window give you the choice to align left, center, or right. In this case you highlight all the copy and tap the "align left" symbol.
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    Veteran Member Mr. Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Food Techniques "Sell by" and "Best Used By" Labels on Food Packaging

    Increasingly, my food supplements have a "manufactured date," instead of the use by or expiration date. It's assumed that the consumer should know the shelf life of a product, and be able to determine how long a product should be used beyond the "manufactured date." I always call the company to determine how long I can use the product. Bottom line: all these dates (use by, best by, etc.) are to benefit the company. The faster you consume the product, the quicker you reorder.

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    Default Re: American Food Techniques "Sell by" and "Best Used By" Labels on Food Packaging

    My son's partner worked for a while for a non-profit organisation that collected food items from shops and supermarkets. As well as fresh food, there was an enormous amount of packaged food. One supermarket chain in particular ditched perfectly good products, including chocolates, just by the date, though which date I don't know. Others sell them at a reduced cost. Well, at least the homeless benefit from all that good food - it gets turned into nutritious meals by volunteers

    There are a number of things that have a limited shelf life, that will last much longer in the refrigerator, mayonnaise for example. Other products will freeze well.

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Food Techniques "Sell by" and "Best Used By" Labels on Food Packaging

    Remember that I married a native Irishman. I will never forget one of his brothers, living in one of the forsaken northwest counties, who kept bottled salad dressings on a shelf above his kitchen table. And yes, the labels specified "refrigerate after opening." I wonder we weren't all dead...

    From what I read, an enormous amount of food is discarded because people understand that a "sell by" date or "best if used by" date indicates that the food is actually unfit for human consumption beyond that point! Fresh meats usually have a specific "use or freeze by" date, but in most other cases all that is indicated is a gradual and possibly imperceptible lessening of quality over time.
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    Veteran Member Mr. Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Food Techniques "Sell by" and "Best Used By" Labels on Food Packaging

    For years, I disposed of fresh eggs within a day or 2 past the sell by date. This changed after a grocer friend told me refrigerated refrigerated eggs were good for at least 2 weeks or longer beyond the sell by date. She told me, when in doubt, place the egg in a bowl of cold water. If the egg sinks and rest on its side, it's still very fresh. If the egg sinks but stands on one end, it's OK but it's losing freshness. But, if the egg totally floats on top of the water, it's bad so get rid of it. An egg is porous and a bad egg accumulates too much air, and the air causes it to float. So, I'm no longer throwing away perfectly good eggs because of a date on the carton.

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Food Techniques "Sell by" and "Best Used By" Labels on Food Packaging

    Great explanation, Mr. Wizard. Many people make that same mistake. Further, if eggs are never refrigerated, they will keep literally for weeks at room temperature.
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    Veteran Member Mr. Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Food Techniques "Sell by" and "Best Used By" Labels on Food Packaging

    Quote Originally Posted by Islander View Post
    ..."......Further, if eggs are never refrigerated, they will keep literally for weeks at room temperature.
    True. Never refrigerated and never "washed," because washing an egg removes that thin outer cuticle which protects the contents. Some farmers wash their eggs before sale. So, even though the eggs were never refrigerated, the washing makes them more vulnerable.

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    Default Re: American Food Techniques "Sell by" and "Best Used By" Labels on Food Packaging

    Quote Originally Posted by Islander View Post
    Great explanation, Mr. Wizard. Many people make that same mistake. Further, if eggs are never refrigerated, they will keep literally for weeks at room temperature.
    Not in Rio de Janeiro! I tried keeping my organic eggs (and we eat a lot of them) out of the fridge, away from sunlight, and I lost of lot of them. Now I refrigerate, but I only wash them if needed (and believe me, some of them are quite dirty) and only as I'm using them.

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    Default Re: American Food Techniques "Sell by" and "Best Used By" Labels on Food Packaging

    Pattypans, I wonder whether ambient temperature and humidity have anything to do with storage time. Is it hot and humid in Rio?
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    Veteran Member Mr. Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Food Techniques "Sell by" and "Best Used By" Labels on Food Packaging

    Generally, unwashed, never refrigerated eggs are good at room temperature for about 7 to 10 days, depending on humidity, heat, etc. Refrigerated eggs, on the other hand, are good for 30 to 45 days from the package date, if kept in the back of the refrigerator and the refrigerator is kept at 40F or a bit lower.

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    Default Re: American Food Techniques "Sell by" and "Best Used By" Labels on Food Packaging

    Quote Originally Posted by Islander View Post
    Pattypans, I wonder whether ambient temperature and humidity have anything to do with storage time. Is it hot and humid in Rio?
    Hot is putting it mildly, Islander. Often humid, too. Our looong summer is crazy hot; spring and fall are sometimes hot, sometimes very warm; 'winter' would probably seems warm to you. Actual winter clothes are never, ever needed. I'm sure the weather is the reason our eggs must be refrigerated.

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    Default Re: American Food Techniques "Sell by" and "Best Used By" Labels on Food Packaging

    Quote Originally Posted by Pattypans View Post
    ".......I'm sure the weather is the reason our eggs must be refrigerated.
    Given your extreme hot and humid weather, your eggs need to be placed in the extreme back of the refrigerator, protecting them from the temperature fluctations when you open and close the refrigerator door. Some refrigerators have designed egg holders on the refrigerator door. This is the worse place to put eggs because of the constant temp. changes everytime the door is opened and closed.

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