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Volume 38, No. 2

Date labels on food are less about safety than about quality

With the holidays around the corner, you’re probably making your shopping list for the big feast. While checking your cupboards for supplies, you find a bag of stuffing mix with a “best by” date of Nov. 1, 2015. Is it still safe to use on Thanksgiving?

Surprisingly, yes. In most cases, eating food that has been on the shelf — or even in the fridge — past the date on the package won’t put you at high risk for food-borne illness, says Ben Chapman, a food safety specialist and associate professor at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

Then why are best-by, sell-by, use-by and other dates plastered all over food packaging?

“Most consumers don’t realize that [these dates are] really more about food quality than food safety,” says Robert Gravani, a professor of food science at Cornell University and co-creator of the Department of Agriculture’s new USDA FoodKeeper app. Read the full article.

Originally published in the Washington Post. By Consumer Reports
Original photo.

For informational purposes only - not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, nor an endorsement by the American Nutrition Association®. Use permitted for non-profit and non-commercial uses or by healthcare professionals in their practice, with attribution to Other use only with written ANA℠ permission. Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the ANA℠. Works by a listed author subject to copyrights as marked. © 2010 ANA℠