This video explains to us what Sell-By, Best if Used Before/By, Use-By and date codes mean on food items. Most frugal people are all about living the good life, only at a fraction of the cost. We know that it is not just about spending less, it’s about spending smart.
This is from the USDA site:
“Sell-By.” – This number is for the store, letting employers know how long a certain product can stay on the shelf. You should buy the food item before this date passes to ensure it’s fresh.
“Best if Used Before/By.” – This date helps specify when a product is at its peak freshness. It does not indicate the safety of the item. Buy and use before this date for best quality.
“Use-By.” – These dates indicate when a product will start deteriorating in quality and flavor. (Again, it’s not a safety guide!) Again, it’s best to buy and use products before this date for best quality, but consuming the product a few days late won’t kill ya.
Closed or coded dates. – These are packing codes that track the product when it is being shipped. These codes are typically a series of numbers and letters that indicate dates and times the container was filled, and places of manufacture. (They look something like this: 035B97 March 15, 2015.) They should not be interpreted as “use-by” dates.
He is giving out rough guidelines on how to judge safe foods but you should still use your own best judgement when evaluating foods. If the date on the chicken parts says it is OK but it smells way off to you, don’t risk going to the hospital over it.