Food & Recipes

Food and Freshness

by Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D.

Food and Freshness

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.


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