Additionally, immediately adjacent to the date must be a phrase explaining the meaning of that date such as "Best if Used By." [Top of Page] Are Dates for Food Safety or Quality?Manufacturers provide dating to help consumers and retailers decide when food is of best quality.Food expiration date coding is a nightmare for the consumer to interpret. This is different from an expiration date on all food products that the consumer can understand.Food products can be divided into two main categories - refrigerated and canned.I have recently created a date coding example page.You may want to read this page first for background.This is the only way to be sure that fresh food is at its best, and that frozen or canned foods will last a reasonable time.After all it’s not just what’s in food that is important, but also how long it will last, or how soon you need to eat it.
Here is some background information answering these and other questions about product dating. Two types of product dating may be shown on a product label.Pasta sauce is perhaps the quintessential “How long will it keep? If you’re cooking for a small household—1-3 diners—you’re not likely to polish off a large jar at one meal, and it’s hard to find a small jar on store shelves. Those that do go to the trouble of addressing the issue provide a wide range of answers and suggestions.Therefore, you may regularly find yourself left with half a jar. You put the remainder in your fridge, and, before you know it, ten days have passed. Culinary Circle urges use within 3 days of opening. Barilla and Classico advise that it is “for three months, so this is your best course of action if you only occasionally get bitten by the pasta bug.Ditto the Francesco Rinaldi brand alfredo and vodka sauces.Pasta sauce left in the freezer longer than 3 months may suffer a decrease in quality, but it will still be safe to eat since pathogens cannot grow at freezer temperatures.