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Jun 16, 2020

Ever wondered what the expiration terms on the food you buy ACTUALLY mean? Well I'm here to help. 

We are all too familiar with the words and numbers printed on everything you buy at the grocery store: Sell By: XXX, Best if used by:XXX, Use By: XXX. Hey, there are some you probably haven’t even seen before like “Born on XXX.” Do they all mean the same thing? Are they different for different products? These questions plagued my mind and spiked my curiosity toward this odd, but important topic., causing me to go into full research mode to find the answers. Hopefully by now I have caught your attention and got you thinking about what these terms mean, and lucky for you, I am going to explain each one for you! So sit back, relax, and let’s learn about those expiration terms. 


The most popular: Best if used by…

This term is the one you probably see, and pay attention to, the most. Best if used by refers to the time when the product will have the best taste and quality. Many people believe that the product will not be safe to eat after the date displayed. But this term merely refers to quality rather than safety. For the best taste, consume the product before this date. Consuming it days after the date passes will do no harm to your body, but I wouldn’t advise waiting too long. Eat it while it’s fresh! 


The most important: Use by… 

This term can be seen as the opposite of Best if used by. The Use by term is focused on the safety of the consumer. This date is the recommended last day you should consume the product. Each day that passes after that date will significantly decrease the quality of the product, and it is advised that you do not consume the product when that day passes. To avoid any possible illnesses, DO NOT consume after the Use by date. 


The store’s responsibility: Sell by…

This term ultimately falls into the store owner or manager’s hands. The Sell by date refers to how long the store should display the item and the last day it will be at its highest quality. After that date, the item will significantly decrease in quality. Make sure to buy the product BEFORE the Sell by date in order to get the most enjoyment and taste out of the product.


Don’t LOAF around: Guaranteed fresh by…

You may have noticed this one, or you may have not, but the Guaranteed fresh by date refers to items found in your store’s bakery. Whether it be fresh baked bread or sweet pastries and cakes, this date reflects the last day that the product will be at peak freshness, similar to Best if used by. While it will be safe to eat after the date (barring if you see mold), for the best taste and quality, eat it before the date passes.


IT’S ALIVE: Born on…

This one might throw you off, but it will all make sense once you hear which products it refers to. The Born on date applies to beer. You may not know that beer actually DOES go bad. At around 2-3 months, beer tends to lose its quality and basically spoil, even if it hasn’t been opened. Similar to the Sell by date, this term is more of a ‘pull date,’ where it tells the owner when to take the beer off of the shelf since it won't be considered “brewery fresh” past that date. 

***Here’s a tip: Try to buy beer in green and brown bottles, as they are said to last longer than clear bottles.***


I know this may not seem like useful information, but hopefully it helps you gain a little better understanding of the topic and helps your future shopping!

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