Frozen and canned products, in particular, tend to keep their quality for some time after the best-before date.
Most packaged foods with a shelf life of less than two years must have a ‘best before’ or ‘use-by’ date stamped on the box, wrapper or bottle.
The best-before date gives you an idea of how long the food will last before it loses quality.
A product will remain fresh and of good quality right up to the best-before date (and sometimes beyond), if it is properly stored, both at the store and at your home.
It may still be safe to eat those foods after the ‘best before’ date, but they may have lost quality and some nutritional value.
Expiration dates on food and drink products are not required or regulated by Federal administrators (with the exception of infant formula).
Those mysterious dates printed on food containers telling us when to purchase, eat, or throw out that tub of yogurt by are actually decided by each individual manufacturer.
To complicate things even more, the printed numbers can mean multiple things, and there’s no continuity between types of products.
So we’ve spelled it out for you with help from the USDA: Unfortunately there’s no predetermined number of days that determine how long certain foods stay edible.