A key to what freshness dates on supermarket foods really mean:
“Use By” or “Expires” Items with these stamps should be used by the date on the package.
“Best Before” or “Best If Used By” These indicate how long food will be at peak quality, but if stored and handled properly, it can be eaten later. The exceptions are baby foods and infant formula: After that date, vitamins can deteriorate.
“Sell By” or “Best If Sold By” Used by stores to determine how long to display a product; freshness is assured if food is bought by this date.
Once an item finds a home in your fridge, follow the guidelines below.
WHEN TO TOSS IT
Chicken, turkey, fish, ground beef
Freeze or use within…2 days
Freeze or use within…7 days
Cooked meat, sliced deli meat
Freeze or use within…4 days
Juice in cartons
Freeze or use within…3 weeks
Steak, pork chops, pork roast
Freeze or use within…3-5 days
Bread (in fridge)
Freeze or use within…7-14 days
Packaged luncheon meat
Freeze or use within…3-5 days once open
Freeze or use within…3-5 weeks
Freeze or use within…2 months once open