Check Product Dates

Check everything for the expiration date, sell-by date, best by, and use by date. These are wonderful tools to keep us healthy and safe.

The press and the government do not give us information and updated reminders on a regular basis. When a massive outbreak of Listeria affected our food buying, the warning to always check the dates was not blasted out as a separate and ongoing issue.

Until recently, I did not check the dates on anything except medications. I relied on stores to track their products. Then I noticed the ready-made salads I bought were being sold with an expiration date of yesterday. Next visit I bought Yakult, which comes in a package of five, to drink one a day. The date was the day before I bought them.

The real wakeup call came after eating an individual-size frozen pizza which was bought last week. While throwing the box away, I noticed the use by date was three months ago.

It is up to us, the consumers, to check the dates. For the stores, it’s always about the money, the cost of checking the stock. Safety and health seem to have gone to the back of the line.

There are dates for other items, too. Maybe motor oil for the car? Household cleaning products? Beauty products? Tooth paste? Keep looking. Be aware. Ask questions. Your health is your responsibility. Move on to companies and products that will show they care by keeping us informed.

Fact sheet “Food Product Dating”
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/food-labeling/food-product-dating/food-product-dating

See also “FoodKeeper” http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/newsroom/meetings/feeds-and-subscriptions/apps

Refrigerator and Freezer storage chart:
http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/ResourcesForYou/HealthEducators/UCM109315.pdf