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Is expired food safe to eat?

CREATED Apr 7, 2012

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MILWAUKEE - Have you ever just glanced at a date stamped on a package of food and automatically assumed that it was expired?

You before you throw it out, you may want to check things out.

Not all of these dates mean that food has gone bad

Before you eat or toss, check out the wording that goes along with the date.

• If the date says "best if used by" or "guaranteed fresh", the product may still be safe to eat, but may lack in freshness or quality of taste and texture.

• If the date says "use by", chances are the product is expired and should be discarded to avoid eating food that could make you sick.

• If the product says "sell by", this is the last date that a store should be selling a product in its store.

But, depending on how many days have past, the product may still be safe, but could be lacking in quality.

• If you do not see a date stamped on a product or are unsure of its safety, it is always a good idea to call the manufacturer at the phone number posted on the label.

If you call the manufacturer, you may be pleasantly surprised that many of them will offer coupons for future purchase or a coupon for a free replacement of the product.

If you are unable to reach a manufacturer or are unsure of the safety of the product, follow the golden rule: "when in doubt, throw it out.