Life Hacks | Did You Know

Best Before Dates Aren't Always As Simple As They Seem


When we reach inside our fridge and find something that is past its best-before date, we usually assume it's gone bad and throw it out. This is not right, don't waste your money and your food!

Best-before dates have to do with food quality: freshness, texture, flavor and nutritional value, not safety. They are not expiry dates. Best-before dates are usually just a quality assurance.

By not treating best before-dates as expiry, you'll waste less food, you'll save money and, you'll avoid sending food waste to the landfill, which contributes to increasing methane emissions.

So how are we suppose to know when things are actually expired? Unfortunately expiration dates only appear on products such as: Baby formula and other human milk substitutes, nutritional supplements, meal replacements, pharmacist-sold foods for very low-energy diets and formulated liquid diets.

For a better look of how long it takes for things to be expired, and no longer good/safe to eat, follow this list:

  • Milk: 7 days after best-before date, opened or unopened
  • Yogurt: 7 to 10 days, opened or unopened
  • Cheese, hard: 3 to 4 weeks opened, 6 months unopened
  • Butter: 4 weeks after best-before date, opened or unopened
  • Eggs, in shell: 4 weeks
  • Eggs, hard-cooked: 1 week
  • Fresh meat: 2 to 4 days
  • Fresh ground meat: 1 to 2 days
  • Deli meats: 3 to 4 days
  • Fresh chicken or turkey, whole or pieces: 2 to 3 days
  • Fresh ground poultry: 1 to 2 days
  • Cooked chicken: 3 to 4 days
  • Fresh fish: 2 to 3 days
  • Fresh shellfish: 12 to 24 hours
  • Leftover soups, stews, casseroles: 3 to 4 days
  • Jams and jellies: 3 to 4 months, opened
  • Mayonnaise: 2 to 3 months, opened
  • Mustard: 1 year, opened
  • Ketchup: 6 months, opened
  • Salad dressing or vinaigrette, bottled: 6 to 9 months, opened
  • Salsa, bottled: 4 weeks, opened

Never eat anything that is visibly expired (mold, strong scent, dis-colored).