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Foods not exhibiting signs of spoilage should be wholesome and may be sold, purchased, donated and consumed beyond the labeled "Best if Used By" date.
[Top of Page] Safety After Date Passes With an exception of infant formula (described below), if the date passes during home storage, a product should still be safe and wholesome if handled properly until the time spoilage is evident (Chill Refrigerate Promptly).
Consumers must evaluate the quality of the product prior to its consumption to determine if the product shows signs of spoilage. Open dating is found on most foods including meat, poultry, egg and dairy products.To reduce consumer confusion and wasted food, FSIS recommends that food manufacturers and retailers that apply product dating use a "Best if Used By" date.Research shows that this phrase conveys to consumers that the product will be of best quality if used by the calendar date shown.It is also based on the conditions of handling, storage, preparation, and use printed on the label.Do not buy or use baby formula after its "Use- By" date. Packing codes are a type of closed dating which enable the tracking of product in interstate commerce.
To comply, a calendar date must express both the month and day of the month.