When was the last time you cleaned out your refrigerator and freezer? How about your kitchen cabinets (or pantry, lucky you if you have one!)?
Some foods, think produce and dairy, “announce” their expiration dates. Lettuce and other greens wilt, fruit rots, and milk turns sour. What about packaged foods, though, whether in bottles, cans, boxes, or bags? Besides, what about those leftovers or prepackaged meats and fish in your freezer? How long can you really keep those?
Packaged foods are labeled with “Sell by,” “Use by,” “Best if used by,” “Expiration,” and “Freeze by” labels. What do these labels mean, in terms of what you need to do with the food?
Here are some guidelines related to food safety.
The only advice I would share with you is that if you plan to donate any packaged food to your local food pantry, DO adhere to the expiration date on the packaging. These places do dispose of food based on expiration dates, so why make them work harder than they already are?