Depending on the grocery store item you purchased, the date printed on the packaging will mean different things. Here’s a tip for not just cutting down on food waste, but saving that hard-earned cash.


The dates say nothing about the safety of the product, only its quality, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

“Sell-by” helps stores move items off the shelves, while “Best If Used By” tells customers when the food could start losing its taste and texture. In both cases, it’s still safe to consume.

“Use By” is for perishables. While a short period after that date is likely safe, it’s best to eat sooner rather than later.



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