Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
'Best by' and 'Use by' dates
Old 05-17-2014, 01:40 PM   #1
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Chuckanut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: West of the Mississippi
Posts: 6,318
'Best by' and 'Use by' dates

I am not sure if this post should be in Fire and Money, since it may save us a few dollars, Health since it is about products that may or may not be unhealthy, or Miscellaneous since I am not sure where to put it.

I have long suspected that consumers are encouraged to toss out perfectly good food because manufacturers put a 'Best before' date on the product, versus a 'Use by' date.

Quote:
there’s a big difference between a “use by” and a “best before” date; the former is a sign that the food may be unsafe to eat after a certain date (though even that’s not always true) while the latter is an indicator that the item might not taste its best after that date, but is still safe to eat.
Here is an article concerning this problem and what one guy plans to do about it.

http://consumerist.com/2014/05/16/re...f-wasted-food/

Ex Trader Joe’s President To Sell Food Past Its Sell-By Date, But Don’t Call It ‘Expired’ €“ Consumerist
__________________

__________________
The worst decisions are usually made in times of anger and impatience.
Chuckanut is online now   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 05-17-2014, 02:31 PM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,871
I found a little store in Oregon, near where I visit twice yearly, that is stocked with expired and near expired food. It is dirt cheap and I've never had a bad experience with any that I have bought. While there, I eat their products then bring home lots of energy bars to last me until the next trip.
__________________

__________________
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
travelover is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2014, 04:05 PM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Nodak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Cavalier
Posts: 2,317
When I see an expiration date on bottled water it makes me question the dates on many products.
__________________
"Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent." Pogo Possum (Walt Kelly)
Nodak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2014, 04:37 PM   #4
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Upstate Ruralia
Posts: 283
If it still smells OK, is not moldy, or curdled, I cook it, toast it or otherwise eat it.

IT's ridiculous to throw out food that is in most cases still good to eat because of a date, in my opinion.

I think it's a ploy to get the unquestioning masses to spend more money than they must on canned, bottled, frozen or even fresh stuff like bread.

Stalish bread is fine toasted. Yogurt is spoiled to begin with!! So is cheese.

I agree about the bottled water with an expiration date on it. Crazy!!!!!! People in some countries drink water right out of the river!!! ( and yes I know about disease, etc, but if it was so bad, we all wouldn't be here today!)

My fridge is set on very cold, because I like milk cold. 0 or 1% milk has so little fat it takes FOREVER for it to spoil when kept cold....I many times use milk well past it's date.

In some countries, they hang fresh meat and fish in the sun to cure, and people purchase a piece of it, cut from the fly blown carcass.....and we toss out meat if it's one day past it's sell-by date......in a refrigerator case, wrapped in plastic, no odor, no off color...just the sell-by date is past!!!!!

I always check in my market for the meat with the 2-3 dollars off stickers on them, mostly because they are approaching their last sell by date. I notice others are starting to do that too. I have NEVER gotten bad food or ill from this practice.
__________________
Lcountz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2014, 07:55 PM   #5
Moderator
Walt34's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Eastern WV Panhandle
Posts: 16,501
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lcountz View Post
I always check in my market for the meat with the 2-3 dollars off stickers on them, mostly because they are approaching their last sell by date. I notice others are starting to do that too. I have NEVER gotten bad food or ill from this practice.
I do that too, and make sure to cook or freeze it within a day or two.

Another myth is for frozen products, almost all of which carry the warning "Do not refreeze if thawed". Unless it's spoiled refreezing is fine. What happens it that it MIGHT be a little less crunchy for vegetables because the freezing/thaw/refreezing breaks down the cell walls and it might be a bit mushy tasting. But that has no effect whatsoever on the safety or nutritional value.

But use common sense. If it sat in the freezer for a week with the power off then yeah, pitch it.
__________________
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
Walt34 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 12:37 AM   #6
gone traveling
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 153
There is a difference.
Best by: Some products are shelf-stable. They don't spoil but the product does degrade.
Use by: Some products are not shelf stable and they spoil.

and then there are, Twinkies and Tootsie Rolls
__________________
LongPrime is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 06:35 AM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
bUU's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,905
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nodak View Post
When I see an expiration date on bottled water it makes me question the dates on many products.
There are a few things about water, especially spring water, that warrant an expiration date - not necessarily for safety, but for taste.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lcountz View Post
I think it's a ploy to get the unquestioning masses to spend more money than they must on canned, bottled, frozen or even fresh stuff like bread.
I don't see any reason for assuming the most nefarious intentions (especially after working with people making such decisions in my earlier career). There are far more rational and immediate considerations. For "Best By", I can more readily believe that the intention is to guard against quality complaints. If, for example, you're concerned that the jam no longer as that nice consistency it has when the jar is first opened, and you're beyond the "Best By" date, then I think most reasonable people would not pursue a quality complaint, or even hold a negative opinion of quality, against the manufacturer of the jam. For "Use By", the need is even more critical: If processes can only assure safety for a certain period of time, with a variance +/- a certain period of time, then you had better make your "Use By" date at least 10% sooner than that certain period of time minus the variance. Otherwise, you're opening yourself up to a lot of frivolous lawsuits and bad PR.
__________________
bUU is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 06:39 AM   #8
Moderator
MichaelB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Rocky Inlets
Posts: 24,412
I usually throw out fresh food only if it smells bad and use canned goods months, but not years, past their expiration dates. Same with medicines.
__________________
MichaelB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 07:14 AM   #9
Moderator Emeritus
Bestwifeever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 16,372
MIL's pantry contained lots of items five or more years past the best-by dates (and what about the packing codes some mfrs use instead? Grrr).

Besides 6.5 oz coke bottles, I can remember how much cheaper the "day-old" bread was that my mother always bought (and not bakery bread, but Wonder Bread). Now our bread has a sell-by date several days away.
__________________
Bestwifeever is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 08:03 AM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Tadpole's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,169
Well, best/use by dates probably do bring about more rotation of goods at the grocery store (older packages brought to the front).

But things have changed. When I was a kid you sometimes could buy spoiled hotdogs and canned goods at the local grocer. That is harder when dates are placed on packages. If you have ever met a spoiled hotdog you will never forget it.

Of course, one only hopes that when the grocer finds that package of raw chicken that is sitting on the soup shelf that he/she throws the chicken away and cleans the soup shelf.
__________________
Tadpole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 08:28 AM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 1,878
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lcountz View Post
I always check in my market for the meat with the 2-3 dollars off stickers on them, mostly because they are approaching their last sell by date. I notice others are starting to do that too. I have NEVER gotten bad food or ill from this practice.
I like to do this as well. Just got some porter house steak for $3.99/lb. I usually get ground beef/pork for 0.99 cents/lb. wrap it up and put in the freezer.

I've used many canned items well beyond ( years ) the BBD. Grandma canned all sorts of things, she put the date it was canned on them, never used a BBD.

Better than bottled water is salt... come on, it's a mineral sitting the ground for thousands of years. You dig it up, box it and put a BBD on it ?

FWIW... I believe there are FDA rules/guidelines that requires some of what has to be put on for BBD and use by dates.
__________________
rbmrtn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 09:04 AM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,963
From my years dealing with customers, I'm a little less cynical about the practice, and I am thankful food/perishable goods provide 'best/use by' dates. I use them to make sure I am buying the freshest/fresh products while shopping, I think that's the primary purpose of expiration dates. It protects consumers and manufacturers from (middle) merchants who might try to sell old goods without your knowledge. Unfortunately manufacturers probably need them to help avoid claims by consumers who've used an out of date product.

Like others here, I rarely if ever use them at home to determine what to use/not use.

As usual, there's two sides to most stories...
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 11:26 AM   #13
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 728
I always throuw away milk and milk products by date on package.....other stuff can last a lot longer......meat......I use or freeze by end date.
__________________
jerome len is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 11:37 AM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,963
You Just Threw Out a Perfectly Good Gallon of Milk Because You Think the "Sell By" Date Means Something | Mother Jones

Quote:
Admit it: When you see milk past the "sell by" date in your fridge you're apt to skip the smell test and throw that stuff out. What you might not know is that the date is actually meant for store stockers to keep track of product rotation. It offers little indication of when the milk may actually sour. You wouldn't be alone in tossing out perfectly good milk. Nine out of 10 Americans needlessly throw away edible, unspoiled food based on "use by," "sell by," and "best before" labels, according to a report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard Law School.

Here in America: Roughly 40 percent of our food goes uneaten, amounting to an economic loss of $165 billion a year, the NRDC reported in 2012. The authors of this week's analysis found that much of that waste is due to "misinterpretation" of the date labels.

"The average household is losing up to $450 on food each year because they don't understand the labels," said co-author Dana Gunders, an NRDC food & agriculture staff scientist, during a press call Wednesday morning. It's a travesty, she added, especially when one in six Americans are "food insecure."
We still have some food waste, but much less than when we were both working, and cooking less (ingredient) efficiently.
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Greens
Old 05-30-2014, 04:20 PM   #15
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 925
Old Greens

I am glad to see that I am not alone in ignoring most of these dates. (I have had plenty of skim milk kept in a cold fridge well past the date stamped on the jug.)

Along a similar vein but not as clear cut to me, slightly wilted or even slimy greens (spinach, kale, lettuce, etc.): Is this safe to eat?

Generally, as long as the odor isn't too bad, I just rinse thoroughly and toss into my salad. Am I taking a significant chance with my health by doing this?

I did recently learn that a soak in water with just a bit of plain, cheap white vinigar will really brighten up some of these slightly wilted greens.
__________________
If there's one thing in my life that's missing; It's the time I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear waters; There's lots of those friendly people
Showin me ways to go; And I never want to lose your inspiration
CoolChange is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2014, 08:26 PM   #16
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 182
Most of us on here are of "boomer" age (give or take a few years). There never used to be any dates on products, and guess what, we survived. If a product is unopened, not leaking, and kept at the proper temperature for the item it is just fine. It is estimated that in the U.S. over 20% of our food budgets are waste.
__________________
pjm-7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2014, 08:34 PM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,260
Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
You Just Threw Out a Perfectly Good Gallon of Milk Because You Think the "Sell By" Date Means Something | Mother Jones


We still have some food waste, but much less than when we were both working, and cooking less (ingredient) efficiently.
From that excerpt:

Quote:
Admit it: When you see milk past the "sell by" date in your fridge you're apt to skip the smell test and throw that stuff out. What you might not know is that the date is actually meant for store stockers to keep track of product rotation. It offers little indication of when the milk may actually sour.
True enough, but....

That 'sell by' date depends on the milk remaining sealed on the shelf. It was sealed under very sanitary conditions. But if you take it home and open it, you have now exposed the milk to the environment, and spoilage starts taking place.

Sure, if you brought it home, and did not open it, it should still be good up to, and slightly past the 'sell by' date. But, if you brought it home two weeks before the 'sell by date' (I forget offhand how far forward the milk dates are), and opened it that day, it could go bad before the 'sell by' date.

So.... 'it depends'.


-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2014, 09:02 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,988
Quote:
When I see an expiration date on bottled water it makes me question the dates on many products.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bUU View Post
There are a few things about water, especially spring water, that warrant an expiration date - not necessarily for safety, but for taste.
A while ago, I had purchased a case of spring water to keep on hand. I grabbed a bottle to take along with me as I was going to a training seminar. While I was sitting in the seminar, taking a swig now and then, I was majorly discomfited to see a large glob of what looked like black slime floating around within the water so, at the next break, I discarded the bottle and contents. I called the bottling company's customer service to complain and they said that's what happens with "old" (past the sell-by date) spring water. (I checked the "sell by" date on the remaining bottles, and, yes, they had "expired". Some contained the black goo and some did not. I pitched them all. )

The bottling company did send me some cents-off coupons as a friendly gesture. But I couldn't bear the thought of buying more of their water.

I didn't get sick, but I don't know how much, if any, of the black goo I had ingested.

omni
__________________
omni550 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2014, 02:11 AM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 5,562
Quote:
Originally Posted by omni550 View Post
A while ago, I had purchased a case of spring water to keep on hand. I grabbed a bottle to take along with me as I was going to a training seminar. While I was sitting in the seminar, taking a swig now and then, I was majorly discomfited to see a large glob of what looked like black slime floating around within the water so, at the next break, I discarded the bottle and contents. I called the bottling company's customer service to complain and they said that's what happens with "old" (past the sell-by date) spring water. (I checked the "sell by" date on the remaining bottles, and, yes, they had "expired". Some contained the black goo and some did not. I pitched them all. )

The bottling company did send me some cents-off coupons as a friendly gesture. But I couldn't bear the thought of buying more of their water.

I didn't get sick, but I don't know how much, if any, of the black goo I had ingested.

omni
Similiar experience, no black stuff, but the water smelled. Contacted customer servive, checked date old. They asked what it smells like, told them dirty feet.
MRG
__________________
MRG is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2014, 05:15 AM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
bUU's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,905
Sounds like the mineralization (which makes water taste good) came out of solution. Yuck. I didn't think that happened with spring water, but rather only with reverse osmosis purified and remineralized bottled water.
__________________

__________________
bUU is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
best by food


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Use only current or future dates for FIRECalc! REWahoo FIRECalc support 1 07-19-2013 07:58 AM
Expiration Dates TromboneAl Other topics 28 07-23-2007 09:47 PM
cpi or ppi release dates perinova FIRE and Money 2 05-10-2006 12:16 PM
Revised SS & Medicare "Go Broke" Dates REWahoo FIRE and Money 11 05-02-2006 06:07 PM
Expiration dates cute fuzzy bunny Other topics 22 03-30-2006 06:10 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:09 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.