Decoding Food Expiration Dates -- Savings Experiment

Did You Know - Decoding Food Expiration Dates
Did You Know - Decoding Food Expiration Dates

Think twice before you clean out your fridge. "Sell by" and "best by" dates are vague indicators of when quality and taste decline, so you can actually keep certain products for longer before they go bad.

While most food items have expiration dates printed on them, the U.S. has no uniform system for coding dates, so it's really up to consumers to make the call on perishable items. That means you decide whether something has spoiled or not.

If you still need some guidelines on when to toss things in the trash, here are some general rules of thumb. When it comes to deli meat, turkey should last seven to 10 more days past its expiration date, while you'll get two to three more weeks of freshness from salami.

As far as dairy goes, you can keep milk for five days past its "best by" date, and yogurt for 7-10 days past its listed expiration date. Meanwhile, eggs can last up to five weeks after their "sell by" date.

When in doubt, trust your nose. It can help prevent you from throwing away perfectly good food -- and money.

Originally published