Is it safe to eat past the use-by date?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “is it safe to eat past the use-by date?” and different terms to check out the freshness of a food item.

Is it safe to eat past the use-by date?

No, it is not safe to eat any food item past the use-by date. Never eat, cook, or freeze food that has passed the expiry date on the label. Even though it seems to be in excellent condition and has been stored properly, the food may nevertheless be harmful if consumed or consumed with alcohol. Many products, such as meat and milk, maybe frozen before they expire, so plan ahead of time to avoid disappointment.

The best before dates 

Rather than referring to the product’s safety, the best before date, which is frequently written as BBE (best before expiry), refers to the product’s quality. If you eat the item beyond this date, it is still safe to ingest, although it may not be at its best. A lack of flavor and texture is almost definitely going to be there. On a wide range of products, including but not limited to:

• prepared meals from the freezer

• foods that have been dehydrated

• goods packaged in tins

Only if the product is stored by the manufacturer’s instructions will the best before date be accurate.

The following terms are more often used than others:

The “sell by” date

The “sell by” date specifies how long the products should be available for purchase at the store before they expire. You should buy the products before they reach the end of their shelf life. The seller will get this as a suggestion on when the item should be taken off the market. This is superfluous; instead, walk to the back and choose the freshest. The issue is not with whether or not the item will deteriorate, but rather with the quality of the object (freshness, flavor, and consistency). 

The “best if used by” or “best if used before” date 

In this case, it’s about quality rather than safety. This date is highly recommended owing to the excellent flavor and quality of this particular kind. This does not represent a purchase, nor does it represent an expiry date. As an example, although previously soured sour cream may have a zippier, more fresh flavor, newly soured cream may have a zippier, more fresh flavor.

The expiration date for “guaranteed fresh” products 

Typically, the term is used to describe bread goods. They will still be edible beyond their expiry date, but they will not be at the peak of their freshness at that time.

The “use by” date 

To utilize the product while it is still in good condition, it should be used as soon as possible after the date shown above. The date was selected by the company that created the goods.

What is the maximum amount of time that food may be consumed?

You should attempt to memorize a few basic principles if you are new to the Julian calendar and find dating a bewildering mess of numbers.

• Dairy products are a kind of food. In general, up to one week beyond the “Sell By” date is OK.

• The egg, of course. They will be OK for the first three to five weeks after you have brought them home from the hospital (assuming you bought them before the “sell by” date). VanLandingham thinks that a two-tiered structure is required. After a week, the quality will decrease by one grade, but it will still be delectable.

• Poultry and shellfish are examples of delicacies. Cook or freeze this within a day or two after preparing it.

• Pork and beef are two of the most popular meats. Prepare a meal or freeze it within three to five days.

• Meals that have been prepared. Acidic foods, such as tomato sauce, maybe kept for up to 18 months in the refrigerator. Low-acid foods, such as canned green beans, are usually risk-free for consumption for up to five years. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautions that if the air conditioning in a home or warehouse fails, the taste, smell, and appearance of food may rapidly deteriorate. Bacteria-infested cans, regardless of their expiration date, should be disposed of!

Shelf Life of different foods

ÂStorage Times After Purchase
Poultry1 or 2 days
Beef, Veal, Pork, and Lamb3 to 5 days
Ground Meat and Ground Poultry1 or 2 days
Fresh Variety Meats (Liver, Tongue, Brain, Kidneys, Heart, Chitterlings)1 or 2 days
Cured Ham, Cook-Before-Eating5 to 7 days
Sausage from Pork, Beef or Turkey, Uncooked1 or 2 days
Eggs3 to 5 weeks


In this short article, we provided an answer to the question “is it safe to eat past the use-by date?” and different terms to check out the freshness of a food item.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.