Many food products now include open dating on the label or packaging. This date helps the store know how long to display a product. It also helps consumers know the time limit to purchase or use the product at its best quality. The most common labels are sell-by, use-by and expiration date. Here's what they mean:
Sell-by Date – This date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. Buy the product before the date expires.
Use-by Date – This is the last date the product will maintain its optimum freshness, flavor and texture.
Expiration Date – If you haven't used the product by this date, it's time to toss it.
Reviewed November 2014