Closed dating foods
• A “Best if Used By (or Before)” date is recommended for best flavor or quality. • A “Use-By” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality.The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.• A “Sell-By” date tells the retail store how long to display the product for sale.Consumers should buy the product before the date expires.
In the food service environment, always look for the dates on our perishable foods on the outside of the case at the receiving step.If a calendar date is shown, immediately adjacent to the date must be a phrase explaining the meaning of that date such as “sell by” or “use before.” Believe it or not, there is no uniform or universally accepted system used for food dating in the United States.Although dating of some foods is required by more than 20 states, there are areas of the country where much of the food supply has some type of open date and other areas where almost no food is dated. Open dating is found primarily on perishable foods such as meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products.Use both the date itself and the phrase in front of the date, such as "use by" or "best by" to make your decision on which milk carton or cookie package to choose.Take an extra second or two when taking foods off the shelves at the store so you can bring home the item with the longest use-by or best-by date available.
Store employees use "open dating," the calendar date on food packages, to decide when to pull an item from the shelf.