To Eat Or Not To Eat? Check The Food Label First
Food labels can be a source of confusion - and a source of sickness - for some people who choose to not heed the printed dates on the package. According to a blog post by Joan Salge Blake, a professor and registered dietitian at Boston University, the key is knowing what the label terminology means and when certain types of products must be discarded.
The commonly seen terms on labels, such as "sell by," "use by" and "best if used by," were put in place by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and are generally quite easy for consumers to understand. However, it may be difficult for people to determine when exactly food should not be eaten, especially when the date given is paired with a "best if used by" guideline.
When The Label Creates Doubt, Toss It Out
A major indicator, wrote Blake, is when food looks or smells spoiled, or is past its label date. In that case, dispose of the food and don't risk it; however, there are several reasons food may spoil or cause illness whether its label date has passed or not. Refrigerated food should always be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and not left at room temperature for more than two hours before refrigerating.