When Your Food Goes Out Of Date, Here’s How Long It Stays Safe To Eat

Whether the date on food packaging says “best if sold by” or “best by,” it doesn’t always mean what you might think. The suitability of any given item depends on a number of variables, including how it is packed, transported, and stored. However, even if the best by date of a product has already passed, it may still be okay to consume. So, keep in mind the following tips before throwing good food in the trash.

1. Milk and butter have different shelf lives

In the U.S., the date on a carton of milk can vary depending on which state you’re in. And how it has been kept since you got it home from the store will be a big factor in its longevity, too. For instance, keeping the product in a fridge running at a lower temperature than the typical 40 degrees Fahrenheit will extend its life. But if the milk is near or past its expiration date, give it a sniff and decide yourself.

Freezing butter can preserve its life

Butter has a much longer shelf life than milk, and when stored correctly it can last for up to nine months. Furthermore, you can extend that even more by freezing it. But once it has thawed again, it’s probably best to use it up. And if you have a fair amount left over, why not treat yourself by baking a cake?

2. Yogurt can be tricky to judge

Yogurt can be a tricky product to read. For instance, it has a naturally sour taste so it might be hard to tell if it has gone bad. You might also see a liquid forming on the top which can put people off. Nevertheless, neither should be taken as a warning, so don’t assume it is bad just because it’s out of date.

It's good for three extra weeks

Small amounts of liquid sometimes appear in yogurt, but don’t worry. This is just whey separating, and it can be easily stirred back in. According to the Food Network, an unopened pot of the product can last up to three weeks past its “best” date if it goes straight into the refrigerator after purchase. Alternatively, you can put it in the freezer to extend its life up to two months and use it for a quick smoothie fix.