The Nose Knows

Published by MyOpinionNow
Sep 23 2013

The Nose Knows

      5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – KABOOM!  

      If you treat “sell-by” dates as the end of the line for your packaged foods, fear not!  According to Jena Roberts, vice president of business development at the National Food Lab, these labels are there for quality reasons and not necessarily for safety.  John Ruff, president of the Institute of Food Technologists in Chicago confirms that, “companies want people to taste their products as best they can at the optimum, because that’s how they maintain their business and their market shares.”  In fact, the only kind of food that federal law says must have a use-by date is infant formula.  Ruff insists that most foods are safe to eat after their expiration dates even with signs of spoilage.  “Very often, you won’t eat it because of the smell, and you probably won’t like the taste, but in a lot of cases it’s unlikely to cause you illness.” 

      According to Our recent poll on “sell-by” dates, 28% of respondents reported following these guidelines religiously.  The two industry veterans are in agreement that in their years of expertise, not a single food safety incident has been reported as a result of a shelf-life issue.  Therefore, you do not need to treat your perishables like ticking time bombs, the “Nose Knows” rule will suffice!  

      How will you treat “sell by” dates moving forward?  

Comments (29) -

  • Luisa Leon says:
    8/3/2018 6:29 PM

    aving once worked for a Bakery distributer I can attest to the fact that items with expiration dates are still good. One of the tasks I had was to remove the items from the stores at the expiration date so they could be sold to smaller mom and pop wholesaler outlets for resale to the public. Reply

  • Alice Blenman says:
    1/1/2018 1:49 PM

    I agree you can consume most things after the "sell-by" or "use-by" dates. If it's a perishable item that needs refrigeration, I will use it after the "use by", "sell by,"or expiration date because I keep my refrigerator at the lowest temperature without freezing the foods. I do so because a family member usually keeps the refrigerator door opened too long. I may even use canned goods left in the pantry past the above dates(could be a year or two). It can be a bit risky, if you don't know the quality of the foods. However, everyone needs to decide what's best for them. Just keep in mind, money is always a factor when a company puts a product on the market. Sometimes, I believe, they have certain guidelines to have consumers spend more money for products. If we see the "use by," "sell by," or "expiration", then we tend to panic and discard the item for a newer one. We all fall for the selling tactics of companies.

  • Melissa Dunlapcross says:
    12/16/2017 1:18 AM

    It depends on what the item is and rather it has mold or smells bad. I have used milk a few days past expiration date. If u freeze meat you can use it up to 6 months past expiration date.

  • Darlington Wilson says:
    9/25/2017 12:01 PM

    It all depends on what type of food it is..... Sell by date has nothing to do with the Expiration date

  • Emalee Osmus says:
    8/13/2017 12:18 PM

    I totally agree of this!

  • Kimberley Atwell says:
    7/7/2017 6:27 PM

    The sell by date is not the same as the expiration date, so I would ignore that and focus more on the expiration date. For milk it'seems the sniff test!

  • Cemile Aksit says:
    10/27/2016 8:08 AM

    I think it depends on the products. The dairy products must not be used if they are out of time. The packaged products which are cracker, candy or could be used.

  • Eliza Victoria says:
    7/12/2016 8:40 PM

    Totally depends on what type of food it is . Dairy and meat can be tricky. i aslo go off of if it has mold on it or not or the smell!

  • Jennifer Reed says:
    2/22/2016 1:14 PM

    It just depends on the item. Dairy products I'm very funny about! But it's not just on sell by date, I go by looks, smells and taste. With bread I only eat it fresh bc after a little bit it gets a weird smell and isn't as soft. So if I want a sandwich it has to be very fresh, but after it looses that fluffy soft feeling you can still use it as long it's not old with mold. Like French toast, or any kind of toasted bread. I don't like throwing food out so I try to use it before the freshness wears off! Not that hard to do if you don't over buy at the store and get just enough for a week. ! Don't waist food too many people go hungry!!

  • Deisy Garcia says:
    2/13/2016 10:32 AM

    Food is still good couple days after expiration date

  • Joseph Howell says:
    1/15/2016 2:47 PM

    Having once worked for a Bakery distributer I can attest to the fact that items with expiration dates are still good. One of the tasks I had was to remove the items from the stores at the expiration date so they could be sold to smaller mom and pop wholesaler outlets for resale to the public.

  • Danny White says:
    10/6/2015 12:43 PM

    It is a general rule to go buy. Does not mean the food is bad. Therfore I use common sence. Or in other words, my nose and eyes to check fer signs that it is bad. Canned food I'd still good if the can is not expanding! Somethings you can boil and kill the bacteria and then still eat it. There are about 25,000 people who die of starvation every day! I'm not into wasting food. No matter how rich I am not.

  • Kelly Mosley says:
    9/22/2015 2:24 PM

    I always dispose of products if the sell by date is p***ed - food, beverages medications - always check

  • Yakeisha Campbell says:
    8/6/2015 2:07 PM

    Yes i support best before dates

  • Shay Taylor says:
    8/3/2015 2:09 PM


  • Desire Anzora says:
    6/21/2015 2:44 PM

    Yes lol 😂😂

  • Jade Clark says:
    6/2/2015 6:34 PM

    I've always been SCARED of sales dates.

  • Dennis Hoevelmann says:
    2/11/2015 10:57 AM

    yes the sell by date is suppose to be the date by which it will taste the very best. after that date then it will lose some of its flavor/taste but not as a drop dead date. i agree that the nose and visual will tell you about the product after the sell by date. i also have pitched items that a deemed bad or questionable before the sell by date. common sense would seem to be if you have questions or concerns then get rid of it.

  • Daniel Londono says:
    1/22/2015 8:57 PM

    I knew it !! I knew there was something something about those sell by dates. Good thing I read this haha

  • M S says:
    9/30/2014 1:55 PM

    LOLZ, my sister throws out everything that has a date that's close to expiration or has p***ed. I always laugh at her. It's like she thinks the substance inside is going to know and automatically spoil because of the date. like, "oh my, look at the date... it's time for me to spoil!" ROTFLMBO!!!

  • Aseel Mustafa says:
    8/18/2014 1:39 PM

    if it looked alright, i'd eat it even if the date was past.

  • Alexandria Miller says:
    7/26/2014 4:48 PM

    I have always used/eaten many food items, dry or canned items until it looks or smell funny or bad. But I will look at the expiration if its an item that i would really like at its best, or a forgotten item in the back of the fridge or cabinet.

  • Cynthia Howard says:
    7/14/2014 11:17 AM

    If it`s a canned good or dry items I usually don't go by the sell by date. But if it's meat or dairy I do. Have had a couple of stomach surgeries so I don`t want to take any chances with fresh items.

  • Bianca Ontiveros says:
    3/19/2014 12:58 AM

    Geeezzz, all this years thinking I would get sick if I ate after the "sell by dates" and now finding out its ok and unharmful ... Less food in the garbage :)

  • Holly Hansen says:
    3/11/2014 12:11 PM

    I always used them after the dates, 30 years ago when I was a kid they never even had those dates on anything and I survived. If the item is discolored, opened in any way or smells funny then in the garbage it goes. Other than that unless it has been 2 years past the date I dont even think about it!

  • Julian White says:
    2/8/2014 7:49 AM

    I worked in a supermarket I threw out plenty of good items because of the sale date it's about policy

  • Soni Diaz says:
    12/30/2013 6:24 PM

    Good to know, I've always followed them thoroughly but will think twice if it's a box of crackers or anything non-dairy or meat related ^^

  • Annemarie Smith says:
    12/20/2013 3:58 AM

    I was ALWAYS scared of those dates, you know...too scared! Now I'm not, but I don't really know if that's a good thing or not!

  • Sean Peake says:
    10/7/2013 7:37 PM

    I will now look at sell by dates differently now i was always scared to drink like juice or a packaged food product that had a sell by date that has been 1 or 2 weeks out of date. Now I'm not scared... thank you. :)

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