ask the dietitian…

I was going through my fridge and noticed that some of the food was past the sell by/used by dates.  How important is it that I go by these?

-Tiffany via website inquiry

First, let’s make sure we all have the definitions correct: “sell by” tells the grocery store how long they can have that item on their shelves, once this date has pasted the store must pull any product that has not sold; the “used by” dates tells you the last day you should consume that product.  So to answer your question…yes you should pay attention to those dates AND to help keep food safe it is important to keep your refrigerator below 40 degrees.  Most of us do not go through the fridge on a regular basis and purge all out dated items so be sure to check each item before using it to prevent any gastrointestinal upset.

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