How Clean Is Your Refrigerator? (Page 7)

How old is your food?

How old is your food?

There is no standard system used for food dating in the United States. Except for baby foods, freshness dating is voluntary; stores are not required to remove outdated products from their shelves. "Use-by" dates refer to quality, not safety. But an expiration date means what it says. If you haven’t used it by this date, toss it. Buy eggs before the "sell-by" date and use within 3 to 5 weeks of when you buy them. The "sell-by" date will usually expire, but the eggs are safe. Typically, condiments that have a higher sugar and salt content have a longer fridge life. Ketchup and mustard: up to 6 months; mayo: 2 months. For a full list of recommended storage times, see the USDA's Food Product Dating resource.


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