How to deal with products whose best-before date or expiration date has passed

  • Following its expiration date, food may tempt you to toss it away. Many people believe that eating food past its expiration date makes them sick. Naturally occurring degradation is not the cause of foodborne diseases. Make sure to keep food properly because tainted food is where bacteria thrive.‌
  • If food sits out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours, throw it away. After preparing a meal, store leftoversquickly to avoid contamination. You can also keep your counters and food prep surfaces clean and free of harmful bacteria.


Freeze food that won’t be consumed immediately away. Since bacteria cannot develop below freezing, freezing increases the shelf life of your food. Milk, bread, and cheese are all freezable. Eggs should be beaten before being placed in a covered container if you intend to freeze them.‌

Extend the life of your produce with better storage techniques. Examples include:

  • Wrapping broccoli stalks in a damp paper towel
  • Keeping celery in aluminum foil‌
  • Storing asparagus in a cup with water

When the time comes to dispose of any food you didn’t eat, you can compost produce and packaged foods like bread. Composting is like recycling because you put your food to use instead of throwing it away.‌

Some foods do not need to be labeled with a minimum shelf life date. These include:

  • Fresh fruits, vegetables (including potatoes), which typically do not bear a minimum shelf life date.
  • Bakery or confectionery products, which are usually consumed within 24 hours of manufacture, making minimum shelf life date labels not required for them.
  • Products such as vinegar, table salt, sugar, confectionery products based mainly on sugar with flavorings or colors, and chewing gum.