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"Use by" Dates with Proper Storage

I noticed that lots of food packages say "use by" and "best if used by" and then list a date. Will I get sick if I eat the food after the date?
"Use by" Dates with Proper Storage

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The "use by" or "best if used by" date is a quality date. If you use the food by that date, it will have an appealing flavor or color, as long as it has been stored properly in your home. However, use baby food by the use-by date.

  • Keep cold foods cold. Set your refrigerator temperature at 40 F.
  • Be sure your freezer keeps food solidly frozen. Set your freezer at 0 F.
  • Keep packaged foods such as cereals in a cool, dry place. Be sure to close the cereal box containers or put the contents in a zip-top bag or air-tight container.

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

Featured in Food Wise May 2015 newsletter (PDF)

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