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"The expiration date can have an impact on how we taste the food," she says.
"A study at Cornell University that was reported in the showed that people who ate yogurt on the day it was said to expire said the yogurt tasted bad.
According to EU law, the manufacturer has to put the expiration date only on cosmetics whose shelf life is less than 30 months.
Drug manufacturers are required to stamp an expiration date on their products.
"Use within seven days of opening and keep tightly covered," says Baker.
"If unopened, it should still be good up to a few weeks after the date stamped on it.
The cryptic and sometimes smudged date on the label of a food product can leave us wondering how safe it is to eat. 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:• Sell by most often is grocer terminology, letting the meat or dairy clerk know when to swap out stock.
Light also can cause unpleasant flavors in milk within 36 hours, though it isn't necessarily dangerous.
If stored around 37 degrees Fahrenheit, pasteurized milk will remain fresh for two to five days after its sell-by date." And yogurt?
Also, if formula is stored too long, it loses its quality and forms lumps that will clog the plastic nipple." Bottom line: Do not buy or use baby formula or baby food after its use-by date—ever. "As a rule of thumb, condiments that have a higher sugar and salt content stay fresh longer and have a longer shelf life." But, she adds, many condiments don't carry expiration dates, so use this rule: When in doubt, throw it out. Yet, reminds Nussinow, some spoilage can occur with packaged snacks.
Do you have a jar of mustard in your cabinet from 2004? Here's a guide to how long the following condiments will last once opened: ketchup, one month in pantry, six to eight months in fridge; mayonnaise, two months in fridge; jellies and jams, one year in fridge; mustard, six to eight months in fridge; peanut butter, two to three months in fridge; pickles, one to two months in fridge; sour cream, two weeks in fridge; salad dressing, three months in fridge; butter, three months in fridge (can be stored in the freezer for up to a year). "The biggest issue is the oils in them getting rancid," she says.Refer to the guidelines listed below for specifics on each food type.• Use by is more of a hard-and-fast rule indicating that it is not safe to consume a product beyond the stated date.And yet, in some cases, according to Shari Portnoy, MPH, RD, a registered dietitian and food safety expert in New York City, it can be all in our heads.Others who ate the same yogurt but didn't see the expiration date enjoyed the food without claims of spoilage."Ultimately, it all depends on the type of food. Expiration dates are more important than ever with raw meat—and so is common sense.