What Is Best If Used By Date? With Other Terms For Food Expiration

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You can easily find some dates printed on food products, and one of them is the term “best if used by date.”

What does this indicator mean? Can you use the product after that deadline? This article will help you answer these questions. Then, you’ll know how to deal with your food.

best if used by date

What Does “Best If Used By Date” Mean?

Food dates aren’t a true indicator of food hygiene or safety. To put it another way, they don’t imply any expiration date. Manufacturers use those terms to notify the buyer about how long they can keep the product in its best condition.


The best-by date tells how long a product will remain fresh. It has nothing to do with food safety. You can keep many foods safe and in good condition for weeks or months after this date has passed.

So, how long can you ingest beyond the “best-by” deadline? Unfortunately, the answer is dependent on the product. It might take weeks, months, or even years.

You can find these labels on all kinds of shelf-stable goods, such as pasta, rice, milk, cheese, or mustard. There are other terms like “best by date” or “best before,” referring to the same meaning.

Difference between “best before” and a “use by.”

The “best before” indicates the quality of the food. As long as you maintain the foodstuff correctly, it can stay good even after that date.

On the other hand, the “use by” indicator is essential to prevent the risk of water from getting ill from expired products.

What Are Other Terms For Food Expiration Date?

You can interpret how long your product is still delicious if you understand expiry phrases. If you store and maintain your foods properly, they may last longer than the expiration on the package.


This phrase is strict. It indicates the shop, in theory, how long the product will last on the shelf. On the other hand, the foods may remain edible for some more days or even weeks. In general, it is dependent on the supply.

Poultry, milk, and eggs often come with the “sell-by” label. You can also see it on dairy products. When you purchase commercially made salads (such as tuna or potato salad), some of them have a sell-by label.

The time when the item is still fresh, like the “use-by” mark, is usually short, ranging from a few weeks to a few months.

Some manufacturers interchange the two terms, while others choose one over another.


“Use-by” dates are often stricter than “sell-by” ones. If a product has a “use-by” deadline, it means that the food will likely only be safe for consumption for a few days after that expiry.

It might be two to three days, three weeks, or even longer. However, you need to consider the type of good. Most refrigerated items, such as most dairy foods (yogurt or buttermilk) and meat, have a use-by indicator.


Expiration dates for goods include statements like “never use after” or “expires on.” Food goods with expiration dates include cake mix, vitamins, and baking powder.

Medications may or may not provide the same effects. The texture of jams, baking mixes, and jellies may not be as expected.

Are Foods Safe to Eat After The Printed Date Passes?

Apart from infant formula, if a product’s expiration deadline has passed during storage, it should still be harmless and nutritious if treated appropriately until spoilage develops.

Due to naturally occurring bacteria, spoiled goods have an unpleasant odor, taste, or texture. It is not advisable to consume food that has formed such rotting qualities.

Molds and bacteria are microorganisms that may thrive and ruin the products. Viruses cannot live in foods and hence do not cause spoiling. Pathogenic bacteria, which induce foodborne disease, and rotting bacteria are the main types of bacteria on foods.

These germs do not lead to disease. Still, they do make food degrade and generate disagreeable characteristics such as a bad taste or smell, making the foodstuff unsuitable for human consumption.

When bacteria have access to nutrition, humidity, time, and ideal temperatures, they may grow quickly and negatively impact the quality of products.


Packaged products often have an expiration. Some can last longer if properly maintained, and some require you strictly follow the guide printed.

The expiration comes in dates which you can easily see on the product’s label. Understanding them helps you use and store the item correctly. Hopefully, you will find this article beneficial. For any further information, please feel free to ask.