OK, here's something that has always been on my mind... The date on milk cartins...is that the expiration date or is that the date that the store HAS to sell or discard it? I always took that date as an expiration date because that's how I've mentally seen it all these years and sense its food, I start to physcologically think it tastes funny a day or so afterwards.
Meat is the same deal, yet i've seen two dates on meat packages...Sell By date; Use By Date. Does the meat HAVE to used by that date or can it be frozen and then when defrost still have the same freshness? And what happens to the meat that isn't sold on that day?
As for medication (esp. prescribed medication), there's always a date somewhere on the bottle or box. Yet, many people say its just put there so people can discard it before it actually expires and you would have to go buy more of it. Anyone heard of that one? This one is a real concern because I've known many people (and my parents are guilty of this one), where they don't finish the medication, save it, and later on, when the same illness appears they go back to the medication.
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IIRC and from personal experience(of course, that's how UL's get spread too):
Sell by date: Store must sell the item by this date. The item is normally good for at least a few days after. If it's stored "on the floor" in the store (i.e. not in a refrigerated section) and I have been storing it in the refrigerator, I figgure it good for a while longer. Ditto if it's refrigerated in the store and I freeze it (most meat is good frozen for about 6 months).
Use by date: As you would expect, they suggest you use it by that date. I've personally eaten things a good week or two after the use by date and survived so far, but I wouldn't suggest that for others
Date, but no description: I assume it's a use by date for safety.
It's a good idea in general to be aware of what exactly would go bad in your food so you can identify it if it happens before the marked date, since the dates are only valid if the item is stored properly throughout its life. Frozen items can quite offten end up in carts, in the clothing isle, or anywhere else for a period of time and be returned to the freezer and bought later. I know, I worked in a store and I saw it all the time ;P
Medication: This is normally a potency issue. The medication is expected to be within the normal range of potency before the listed date. After that it likely won't hurt you, but it may not be effective either. (Note a bit of hesitancy in my descriptions, since there could be SOME new drug now that becomes a deadly poison the minute it expires
Posts: 257 | From: In front of a computer | Registered: Jul 2004
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Milk is supposed to be good for a week after the sell by date.
Meat, if frozen before the use by date, can be used any time thereafter provided it hasn't been thawed and re-frozen.
As for the drug dates, it varies. These are "use by" dates. But almost all drugs, especially pills and capsules that have been kept in a cool dry place, can be used well after that date. The effectiveness of these drugs usually does not diminish for a very long time.
Other drugs, especially liquids, injectables and anything that must be kept cold, generally loose their effectiveness nearer the use by date.
-------------------- A Lie can run around the world before the Truth can get its boots on. - Terry Pratchett
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions; but everyone is not entitled to their own facts. - Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan Posts: 2495 | From: Connecticut | Registered: Oct 2000
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From my - german influenced - knowledge and experience:
USE BY: basically states "After this date, you can't complain if it's rotten". It may be fit for consumption longer, but that's on your own risk. Of course, food may not be sold after the "use by" date.
USE BY (MEDICATION): Medication may be ineffective (and even dangerous) after this date. Since the company can't controll the storage and handling once the product left the factory, it is asked (by law) to put the earliest possible date on the bottle/box, assuming the medication is *not* kept dry, dark and cool. If stored correctly, it will last much longer.
-------------------- My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling, but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. - Pooh Bear Posts: 2209 | From: Hamburg, Germany | Registered: Oct 2004
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