Safe storage of your meat purchases

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Do Food Expiration Dates Really Mean Anything?

Buying and preparing fresh, wholesome meat is important to consumers. Traditionally, consumers have used their eyes, nose and touch to evaluate the appearance of fresh meat and to check for signs of spoilage. Today, the practice of dating meat products is more common than ever, but the different types of dates can be confusing.

Fresh Meats, p. This includes meats distributed frozen through the food bank. These meats were frozen on or before the sell-by date marked on each.

As long as food is stored correctly and hasn’t been opened, it should be safe to eat before its use-by date. However, after that, a food can’t legally be sold and shouldn’t be eaten. Best-before dates are used to provide information about food quality. Most foods will have these dates. However, it may have lost some nutritional value and might not taste the best. As long as cans are stored and sealed properly, they should last a long time.

Is Expired Food Safe to Eat? The Truth About Expiration Dates

Food labeling can be confusing. Here’s what you need to know to get the most out of your groceries. A survey from the National Resources Defense Council found that 90 percent of Americans toss out food prematurely.

In a report published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in June , it states that the recommended use-by date for raw meat that has.

They’re meant to protect us and ensure the highest quality and safety of our food, but why are expiration dates so confusing? The cryptic and sometimes smudged date on the label of a food product can leave us wondering how safe it is to eat. And, in a less than perfect economy, where many people are trying to stretch their grocery budget, is it ever OK to keep food beyond its sell-by date? Find the answer to this question and more. Use by, sell by or best before …confusing, right?

Next time you’re trying to make sense of a food label, remember these guidelines from Lindsay Baker, RD, LD, a registered dietitian and food safety expert in Augusta, Georgia:. While you can normally safely eat a food a few days after a sell-by date, it’s not recommended to go much beyond it. The length of time that food is good after this date depends on the product.

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Do I really need to throw food away by the date printed on the carton? If not, how long do I have before it really goes bad? Some people have a fear of snakes.

“Best if Used By” is a type of date you might find on a meat, poultry, used to preserve the quality of the product or fresh beef packaged in a.

In Australia, meat is processed, packaged and labelled to obtain the maximum shelf life without creating a food safety risk to consumers. Meat products can be generally classified into the categories of unprocessed and processed. Unprocessed fresh meat can be sold as either chilled or frozen. Meat that has been processed by heating, curing or drying can be sold as shelf stable, chilled or frozen, depending on customer requirements.

Shelf life of any of these products depends on the processes applied and temperature control along the supply chain. The shelf life of products is generally determined by conducting storage trials under the conditions that the product would be sold e. Usually the shelf life is determined in the product development stage by skilled technologists or processors that know the product well.

In most cases variables such as pH, water activity, preservative content and storage temperatures are considered when decisions are made on the life of the product. In some instances, shelf life is estimated based on the history of the product and its composition. Figure 1 explains the process used to make a decision on shelf life.

The Dating Game / Freshness labels are a manufacturers’ free-for-all

Many times the shelf-life of food is not so much a matter of safety as it is quality. We want food that is safe to eat as well as food that tastes good. Observing “sell-by,” “expiration” and “use-by” dates is recommended.

For meat, poultry, and egg products under the jurisdiction of the Food Many fresh or prepared foods are labeled with a “Sell-By” date as a.

Like most people, you probably reach around to the back of the market’s dairy case for the freshest milk, and sort through the meat packages to pick the pork chops with the latest date. The problem is, those dates don’t mean what you think they do. What they do mean may be the best kept secret in the supermarket. With just a couple of exceptions, no laws regulate package dates — variously referred to as sell-by dates, pull dates, expiration dates or quality dates.

That most dates appear at all is entirely up to the manufacturer or the grocer. The federal government only requires expiration dates on infant formula and some baby food. It is perfectly legal, for example, for a supermarket worker to take a steak that is older than the date stamped on the package and relabel it with a new date. The milk with next month’s date may not be fresher than the carton with next week’s date. And if you decide what to eat based strictly on the package dates, you probably waste a lot of money.

She has worked the meat and poultry hotline for the United States Department of Agriculture for 11 years. She fields questions from the public about what expiration dates mean almost daily. Even Californians, who tend to be well educated about food, are confused about what the dates actually mean. It is strictly industry practices.

Many perishable products such as milk have conservative dates, which means that they are expected to stay fresh for at least a week after the imprinted date.

Trading Standards Institute Advice

Confused by food expiration dates? The experts say: Sure! In fact, expiration dates mean more to grocers than they do to consumers.

Fresh meat, poultry and fish are highly perishable so they have “sell by” dates. This is an expiration date for how long a grocery store can display that food.

The Food Bank sometimes hands out products after their expiration date. Packed food products always have an expiration date:. THT is used for dry goods and most refrigerated products that have to be stored at a given temperature. These products must be stored at 0 — 4 degrees Celsius. It is recommended not to eat these products after this date because they may be spoiled. In case of a TGT-date use by it has already been stated that these are vulnerable products; therefore these may not be supplied after their TGT-date, because food safety can not be guaranteed.

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