What do food freshness labels really mean?

Q. My friend thinks any food with a label saying it’s expired or “best used by” a certain date should be thrown out. But are those foods still safe to eat?

A. Food freshness labels really can be confusing, making us wonder if we’ll get sick by eating something after it’s past its “sell by,” “use by,” or expiration date. But most of these dates aren’t actually warning us that the food will be spoiled at that point — only that it won’t maintain its best taste and texture by then.

For example, refrigerated items usually have sell-by dates, which tell stores when to remove products such as milk, yogurt, cream, eggs, and lunch meat from the shelves. But dairy products are still good for one week after that, and eggs are safe for three to five weeks. Ground meat and poultry are good for about two days in your refrigerator; you can freeze them for far longer.

Canned products, as well as boxed foods such as cookies, crackers, and cereals and jarred items such as peanut butter, can keep for months or even years as long as they’re stored properly. This means their packaging isn’t dented, torn, or bulging.

Meanwhile, only a few products, such as baby formulas and foods, shouldn’t be used after their expiration date because they may not “work” the same afterward.

Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren

2 Corinthians 13:9 For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete.

Colossians 1:28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.

2 Corinthians 10:15-16 not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you, so as to preach the gospel even to the regions beyond you, and not to boast in what has been accomplished in the sphere of another.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;

2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Ephesians 1:17-18 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you will know what the hope of His calling is, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

Ephesians 3:16-19 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, read more

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