Is it safe to eat food after the “use by” date?

Do you toss out food after the “use by” date… or take a chance and eat it anyway? A new survey from finds Americans unnecessarily throw out billions of dollars of food a year because they are worried it will make them sick. I’m definitely guilty of this!

The survey shows three-fourths of Americans think certain refrigerated foods are not safe to eat after the date on the package has passed. But experts say if the foods are stored properly, most of them can be safe after the “use by” date.

The people who took the survey were most worried about these five products – milk, cottage cheese, mayonnaise, yogurt, and eggs.

Here’s how long says these foods are safe:

Milk – if it is properly refrigerated, it will be safe, nutritious, and tasty for about a week after the “sell-by” date and will probably be safe to drink longer than that.

Cottage cheese – should last 10-14 days after the date on the carton (or 10-14 days after opening if this period ends before the printed date).

Mayonnaise – if it’s unopened and refrigerated, it can be kept for 30 days after its expiration date or 3-4 months after opening.

Yogurt – will be good 7-10 days after its “sell-by” date.

Eggs – if they’re properly refrigerated, they should last at least 3-5 weeks after the “sell-by” date.

And if you’re wondering about the shelf life of just about any kind of food, you’ll probably find the answer at

I feel like such a food waster after reading this because I always toss stuff out by the “use by” date. You?


    • FatFighter August 20, 2010
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