Okay, so the question that crops up periodically is "are things safe after the expiration date?"
The answer is generally yes, because the expiration date is generally not an "expiration date", but an arbitrary date put on by the manufacturer to avoid customer complaints.
Basically, manufacturer do "open dating" which is where they put a date on it that is understandable by consumers to avoid complaints from customers. Some don't bother with "open dating" and just put a code only understandable to them.
So what does that mean? When you see something with a "sell-by date" of today the company put a date on there that they will hear no complaints for customers for people who purchase it on that date, and it was stored under somewhat close to normal conditions at the stores, warehouse, and consumers home.
The stuff does not magically deteriorate suddenly after a date, since the company makes millions of the items, some will go bad soon after the date, some will stay good for a long time after that date.
So how do I use this to my advantage: So I scored cottage cheese for 65 cents a tub, unopenned it will keep for up to a couple months in my refrigerator past the sell-by date. Towards the end of this timeframe I will be scrutinizing the containers as I open them, but without negative signs I will eat them.
So if you want to save money, you can buy stuff near the "expiration date" since it means very little scientifically, but it really matters to people who like to read them and so they mark down the prices a lot.
Here is a link to the department of AG website: www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Food_Product
I do not recommend eating rotten food regardless of what the date on the package says.
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