Expiry dates, Best before dates, Food safety


Expiry, best before dates, food safety, wasting food 




Vacuum sealing food, whether fresh or cooked, prolongs its shelf life, keeps food in a better condition, saves storage space, prevents freezer burn and eventually saves money.

These are valuable points that cannot be repeated often enough, but how about food safety?

Every once and a while the ‘best before’ issue pops up again somewhere, the knowledge, or right information as you like, that people have about the issue is quite appalling.

Did you know that,

food waste holly


 In the USA alone, $165 billion dollars’ worth of good food is disposed of every year just because some manufacturer prints a best if used by, or before date. Another warning is, use by and sell by date.   We are aware this is for our safety. Plus it is super frustrating to purchase milk only to find out it is sour two days after purchase date.

When we divide this enormous amount of money, it comes down to an average household of four people thrashing $2.275 per year, that’s $189.58 per month.

That’s a good amount of money, try it out when you get your paycheck, take $189.58, put it in front of you and throw in the dumpster, close the lid and forget about it. Any takers out there? Not all too many, I am sure. This is why the price of food has risen to dramatically in the past few years. Someone has to pay for the waste and it is the consumer in high cost of goods.

Here are some I found: On social media the excuses people make to pitch good food.

food waste holly 2

  • I don’t care, when I see a date I trash.
  • My husband is very particular about this.
  • If I see a date, or even one or two days before, I throw.


How is it possible that a developed nation is so ignorant about a simple topic like this? We are not ignorant we have been trained by the mass media to believe food goes bad much faster than it actually does.

The topic, (I wrote about it before) surfaced again because reportedly an Italian grandma poisoned her whole family with a hot chocolate mix that expired 25 years ago. I guess she didn’t have a lot of common sense, but how about you?


The truth about labeling

A spokesperson for the National Resources Defense Council says: “There is no uniform method for dating food, all of the different versions aren’t federally regulated (except for baby formula, which requires a “use-by” date).

There is no date on a food product that tells you when the food is spoiled. The labels are determined by the manufacturer and voluntarily printed on packaging.

Here is what they really mean:

Sell by: Is nothing more than info for retailers how long to display food and is the date consumers should by it.

  • Best if used by: This info is meant for optimal flavor quality. Nothing to do with food safety.
  • Use by: Is a recommended date for the use of the product at peak quality. Nothing to do with food safety also.


Obviously the unregulated labeling issue causes a lot of confusing. Nine out of ten people are trashing good food based on these dates.

A uniform clear system regulated by the federal government would be really helpful and definitely go a long way to solving this problem, but seems far away from implementation.

Altogether it comes down to the consumer to determine if food is spoiled. If that is so you can prolong shelf life by vacuuming and freezing food before one of the above-mentioned dates.  We randomly go through our fridge and what was planned for a dinner in a day or two may go to the freezer as our plans have changed.  If we vacuum seal it before we put it in the freezer we have zero freezer burn and the food is good to thaw and use at a later date.  So many folks just lose the food to time expiration because the weekly plans changed and that meal was eaten elsewhere.


This may not work for all food in your pantry, but it does for many and when you have decided not to thrash the food this money might just be the inspiration you need.

Vacuum sealing and freezing works for dry food, wet food, fresh food, opened packages and many other items you have stored, so definitely worth a shot.

A good quality vacuum sealer is more than value for money, find yours here:



www.vacupack.com  for USA and www.vacupack.ca for Canada.



By: Marinus Hoogendoorn


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