Package labels confusing and misleading

by Colleen

What do the most common labels mean? The manufacturer’s estimate of when the food will no longer be at its highest quality is “best if used by” or “best by”.

The manufacturer’s suggested date to the grocer to no longer sell the product based on the idea that the quality will still be good for a reasonable time if it’s purchased on that date is “sell by”.

An estimate of the last date the food is at peak quality is “use by”.  More than 90% of Americans use these dates when deciding whether to discard food.

Refrigerator tips – Use a thermometer in your fridge to make sure the refrigerator is keeping cooler than 40 degrees. If any foods are slimy, soft, change color or smell the food is spoiled and needs to be thrown away.  The senses are better indicators of food safety than the date stamp on the product.

The areas of the refrigerator are important when storing food the upper shelves is slightly warmer you can store drinks and leftovers.  The lower shelves are the coldest section meat, fish and poultry should be stored in this section.  Always use a tray or plate to catch any dripping. In the high-humidity drawer the veggies that will wilt such as lettuce, spinach, kale and fruits such as pears, grapes and berries are best kept in this drawer.

The refrigerator door is the warmest part of the fridge a great place to store condiments it is not a good place for anything perishable.

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