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The Date Dilemma

I bought some yogurt and eggs at the grocery store yesterday. I noticed today is the "sell-by" date. Is the food still OK to eat? I have some other foods in my cupboard with "use-by" and "expiration" dates. What is the difference?

“Sell-by” dates are meant for the store’s use. The sell-by date is the last day the grocery store can display the food for sale.

Yes, yogurt and eggs are still good beyond the sell-by date. Yogurt, for example, is fine to use for seven to 10 days beyond the sell-by date as long as you keep it refrigerated at 40 F or lower. When properly refrigerated, eggs are good for three to five weeks beyond the date on the package.

“Use-by” dates are quality dates, not safety dates. For foods with best flavor, color and texture, be sure to use them by this date. The foods are still safe to eat beyond the use-by dates. Foods with expiration dates should be discarded after the food “expires.” For example, baby food and formula have expiration dates and should be thrown after the expiration date.


Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

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