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dragonboy221
01-13-2013, 10:17 PM
when i buy organic peanut butter (in a glass jar) it says "Sell by" a certain date.

lets say, the 'sell by' date is 1/1/14. does that mean the peanut butter is only edible until that date?

baz152
01-13-2013, 10:25 PM
No it does not. Every food item now has to have a sell by date (look at a jar of 100% natural honey - it never goes bad). A lot of food items will last far beyond there sell by date depending on how they are kept.

nothinghere2c
01-13-2013, 10:26 PM
sell by does not generally mean expires by.

milk says "Sell by" on it but i've drank it a couple weeks after if i have kept it cold enough or unopened.

i'm not sure how "Safe" organic peanut butter is compared to regular peanut butter however i've eaten peanut butter a year or more after the date stamp on it. it just tastes dry and funny.

Librarian
01-13-2013, 10:27 PM
when i buy organic peanut butter (in a glass jar) it says "Sell by" a certain date.

lets say, the 'sell by' date is 1/1/14. does that mean the peanut butter is only edible until that date?

No.

'Sell by' is some period before 'best if used by'; 'best used by' is some period before 'ack, you'll die!'.

For example, milk is sell-dated so stores will rotate their stock; with ordinary storage and care, milk should be fine for at least a week past the 'sell by' date. Sometimes it'll be OK longer, sometimes a bit less.

Canned goods are probably safe at any age, if the containers are not rusted or leaking, bulged or dented, and don't release pressurized gas that smells like decay.

http://www.grandpappy.info/hshelff.htm

Decoligny
01-14-2013, 8:56 AM
when i buy organic peanut butter (in a glass jar) it says "Sell by" a certain date.

lets say, the 'sell by' date is 1/1/14. does that mean the peanut butter is only edible until that date?

If you buy a gallon of milk with a sell by date of 1/14/2013, it does not mean that you must drink if before the end of the day. It is the stores way of knowing that in most cases, it will be used up before it can go sour.

It is all simply guesswork on the part of the USDA and its state counterparts.

Then again, I have bought milk a couple of times that was well under its sell by date, and it was sour and curdled when opened (immediately returned for refund).

There have been cans that were sitting in a museum unopened from an artic expidition for approx 100 years. They opened the cans, and the food was tested. It had about the same nutritional value as freshly canned food of the same type as sold today. It did not have any bad organisms growing in it.

Gabriel80
01-14-2013, 9:20 AM
I heard a whole story about those "expiration dates" on NPR. There was a science lab that tested canned foods that we're 40-100 years old.

The bottom line of the story, is those "sell by" or "best if used by" dates are not EXPIRATION dates, rather they are used by the company to maintain their product integrity. Many foods last 10 times those dates, but the manufacturer wants it's product to TASTE the best it possible can, thus keeping a good reputation for the product.

The worst case they found about the old food was it had lost flavor and nutritional value but it wasn't dangerous. Believe it or not they even discussed dairy products being safe pretty far beyond expiration dates. They said sure they smell bad and that curdled stench isn't appetizing but it's not dangerous.

I think they specifically found a can of oysters from a sea wreck that was 100 years old, crazy!!

kaligaran
01-14-2013, 1:33 PM
Expiration and sell by dates are also on the conservative side. Librarian's advice is the best: Never eat buldging or rusted cans of food. Even if before the expiration date.
There's debate about just dented cans that aren't buldging still being good. But unless your life depends on it, best to steer clear of any can not in good condition.

Pure honey is a unique item too (in reference to the earlier post - baz is right). Honey doesn't go bad but I have seen jars of pure honey with sell by dates.
We've actually found edible sealed honey combs in tombs in Egypt (google if you don't believe me) :).

Librarian
01-14-2013, 3:30 PM
Honey has a neat feature, probably shared with salt - if anything living gets into it, the water in its cell/cells is drawn out so the critter dies.