National Nutrition Month® is an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign, celebrated each year during the month of March, focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. As we celebrate Nutrition Month, we wanted to share information about the importance of food shelf life and practicing good food safety.
Master the Shelf Life of Foods
Many foods and drinks purchased at the grocery store include a date, which indicates when it should be used or sold by. Because these dates refer to the product’s quality, it doesn’t necessarily mean they should be thrown out.
· “Use by”, “Best by” and “Best Before” dates are found on foods, such as mustard, salad dressing and ketchup. These products usually don’t need to be refrigerated until opened. In many cases, they are safe to eat beyond the date as long as they have been stored properly.
· “Sell by” dates are displayed on perishable foods, such as meats and dairy products. It’s possible these foods may be used a few days after that date, as long as they were stored at a safe temperature.
Practice Good Food Safety
· Don’t risk eating or drinking anything that you suspect has spoiled.
· Eat leftovers within 3 to 4 days (or freeze for up to 3 to 4 months).
· Create ideal storage conditions
· Store foods in the pantry so that products with closer dates are up front.
· Place foods that could spoil quickly within sight, such as in the front of the refrigerator or on the counter (if they’re not perishable).
· Wait to wash produce until right before serving.
Source: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
*** The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.