Slate has an interesting article about food expiration dates and their meaning — which can be somewhat slippery. The basic idea is this: You don’t have to throw out food just because its past the “Sell By” date. You should inspect your food to see if it has spoiled and try to make a rational decision. [More]
Is it safe to buy meat when the “sell by” date is about to expire? How safe is it to buy beef or fish at a reduced price because the “sell by” date is about to expire? What are signs of bad steak? Does browning around the edges indicate it’s spoiled? [CR]
Is it ok for stores to sell food that’s expired? It depends. It is illegal for stores to sell food past its “Use By” date. However, stores are allowed to sell food after it has passed the “Best Until” “Best Before” “Sell By” or “Display Until” dates stamped on the sides of packages. As the name suggests, it just might not be its best, in terms of flavor, consistency, or texture. Still, why get the old stuff when you can get the fresh for the same price? Always check the expiration dates on food packages to make sure you’re getting the best value for your dollar.