Posted at: 03/06/2012 4:28 PM
Decoding those Dates
Jen Haugen represents Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert promoting healthy eating throughout the community. Jen is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
You’ve assembled everything you need for the perfect deli sandwich: roasted turkey, Black Forest ham, prosciutto, some thinly sliced provolone and a crusty baguette. To top it all off, you reach into the fridge for your favorite spicy mustard. And then you notice it. The “Best By” date on the mustard bottle was four months ago! Do you ditch the mustard? It’s time to take a look in the kitchen for a little spring cleaning!
Here’s what you need to know about food expiration dates:
All you need:
2 tbsp canola oil
1 (32 ounce) package frozen Hy-Vee O’Brien potatoes
6 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Colby Jack cheese
1 cup black bean and corn salsa
All you do:
Nutrition facts per serving: 270 calories, 12g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 220mg cholesterol, 560mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 5g sugar, 12g protein.
Daily values: 15% vitamin A, 20% vitamin C, 10% calcium, 6% iron.
|Codes You Need to Know|
1. Best-by or Best Before: Found on shelf-stable products. Voluntarily provided by the manufacturer. Tells you how long the product is to remain at optimal quality when unopened. It is not a safety date.
2. Sell-by: found on perishable products. This date is a guide on how long a store can display a product. Buy before the date expires but can still store at home, depending on the product, from 2-10 days beyond the sell-by date.
3. Expires on: found on infant formula, baby foods and over-the-counter medicines. You should always use the product before this date for safety reasons.
4. Packing codes: found on many products for manufacturers use to track products and manage inventory.
Eggs: Pack dates are given in numerical order based on day of year. The Julian code, for example, where 001 will indicate the eggs were packed on January 1 and 365 will indicate the eggs were packed on December 31. Eggs remain fresh 4-5 weeks beyond the packing date.
Milk or Cheese: Sell-by dates posted on product. Product to be used within a week of sell-by date.
Meat: Sell-by dates posted on product, important to freeze or use within 48 hours of purchase due to elevated temperatures in home refrigerators.