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"Best if Used By" is a type of date you might find on a meat, poultry, or egg product label. Does it mean the product will be unsafe to use after that date?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.[Top of Page] Can Food be Donated After the Date Passes? The quality of perishable products may deteriorate after the date passes but the products should still be wholesome if not exhibiting signs of spoilage.Food banks, other charitable organizations, and consumers should evaluate the quality of the product prior to its distribution and consumption to determine whether there are noticeable changes in wholesomeness (Food Donation Safety Tips). Consumption by this date ensures the formula contains not less than the quantity of each nutrient as described on the label.To comply, a calendar date must express both the month and day of the month.In the case of shelf-stable and frozen products, the year must also be displayed.For example, sausage formulated with certain ingredients used to preserve the quality of the product or fresh beef packaged in a modified atmosphere packaging system that helps ensure that the product will stay fresh for as long as possible.These products will typically maintain product quality for a longer period of time because of how the products are formulated or packaged.
A change in the color of meat or poultry is not an indicator of spoilage (The Color of Meat and Poultry).It is also based on the conditions of handling, storage, preparation, and use printed on the label.Do not buy or use baby formula after its "Use- By" date. Packing codes are a type of closed dating which enable the tracking of product in interstate commerce.“Closed Dating” is a code that consists of a series of letters and/or numbers applied by manufacturers to identify the date and time of production. Except for infant formula, product dating is not required by Federal regulations.
For meat, poultry, and egg products under the jurisdiction of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), dates may be voluntarily applied provided they are labeled in a manner that is truthful and not misleading and in compliance with FSIS regulations.
Microorganisms such as molds, yeasts, and bacteria can multiply and cause food to spoil.