Canned Food Storage

Proper food storage ensures that your food is safe, fresh and full of its naturally occurring nutrients. Use this guide to help you store food safely and decide what food to keep or toss.

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The Deal on Food Dates

Are all of the foods you have on hand at peak quality and safe to eat? The dates on the package will help you decide.

"Freshness Date" or "Best if Used By Date"


This tells you how long a food will be fresh and at top quality if it is stored properly. After that date, the product may still be safe to eat, but may not taste as good.
Foods with freshness dates: Bread, salad dressing, raisins and cereal. Many canned products have a "for best quality use by" date stamped on the top or bottom of the can. "Expiration" dates are rarely found on canned food.

"Sell-By Date"

This is the last day a food should be sold at the grocery store. Most foods will still be fresh and safe to eat for a week or so after the sell by date.
Foods with sell-by dates: Cheese, milk, meat and yogurt.

"Expiration Date"

This is the last day a food should be eaten and may not be safe to eat after the date has passed.
Foods with expiration dates: Baby formula

Foods that don't have dates

Use a marker or label to indicate when you purchased them.