Recent Blog Articles
Overeating? Mindfulness exercises may help
Genes protective during the Black Death may now be increasing autoimmune disorders
Does weight loss surgery relieve pain?
Have you done your crossword puzzle today?
Concerned about your child’s development?
Why all the buzz about inflammation — and just how bad is...
What’s the right way to brush your teeth?
Want to stay healthy over the holidays?
How to help your preschooler sleep alone
21 spices for healthy holiday foods
What do food freshness labels really mean?
- By Toni Golen, MD, Contributor, and
- Hope Ricciotti, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch
Ask the doctors
Q. My friend thinks any food with a label saying it’s expired or "best used by" a certain date should be thrown out. But are those foods still safe to eat?
A. Food freshness labels really can be confusing, making us wonder if we’ll get sick by eating something after it’s past its "sell by," "use by," or expiration date. But most of these dates aren’t actually warning us that the food will be spoiled at that point — only that it won’t maintain its best taste and texture by then.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
You might also be interested in…
A Guide to Healthy Eating: Strategies, tips, and recipes to help you make better food choices
Eat real food. That’s the essence of today’s nutrition message. Our knowledge of nutrition has come full circle, back to eating food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it. Based on a solid foundation of current nutrition science, Harvard’s Special Health Report A Guide to Healthy Eating: Strategies, tips, and recipes to help you make better food choices describes how to eat for optimum health.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!