At Gates of Hope it is our desire that everyone will have a positive experience with our Food Pantry.
We distribute both "in-code" and "out-of-code" products. We understand that there is a lot of confusion regarding best buy dates. We will continue to update this page as we want you to be able to make an educated informed decision on what you feel comfortable consuming.
But the good news about dates is this:
The dates solely indicate freshness and are used by manufacturers to convey when the product is at its peak. That means the food does not expire in the sense of becoming inedible. For un-refrigerated foods, there may be no difference in taste or quality, and expired foods won't necessarily make people sick.
"Sell by" date: The labeling "sell by" tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before the date expires. This is basically a guide for the retailer, so the store knows when to pull the item. This is not mandatory, so reach in back and get the freshest. The issue is quality of the item (freshness, taste, and consistency) rather than whether it is on the verge of spoiling. Paul VanLandingham, EdD, a senior faculty member at the Center for Food and Beverage Management of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, tells WebMD the "sell by" date is the last day the item is at its highest level of quality, but it will still be edible for some time after.
"Best if used by (or before)" date: This refers strictly to quality, not safety. This date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date. Sour cream, for instance, is already sour, but can have a zippier, fresh taste when freshly sour (if that's not an oxymoron!)
"Guaranteed fresh" date: This usually refers to bakery items. They will still be edible after the date but will not be at peak freshness.
"Use by" date: This is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.”
Again, we desire all to enjoy the food we give to you. We hope this info has helped.
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Food Safety Resources: