The Real Deal: Use-by, best-by, sell-by and expiration dates - knowing the difference could save you money!

News 12's consumer reporter Janice Lieberman gives us The Real Deal on grocery best-by dates - so you don't waste money on groceries you already have.


Use-by and best-by dates mean the quality is at its freshest by that date. It's a recommendation only. Make sure to take stock of what you already have at home, before bying new groceries. Plan a menu by adding just a few more ingredients. And don't forget to freeze.


Sell-by date is for the retailer, reminding them when to pull an item, and doesn't necessarily mean that all of a sudden the item is bad.


An expiration date on meat and dairy is when it's most likely to spoil. When shopping, look for the latest date you can find. But even if you have an expired product, no need to toss. As long as it doesn't smell funny or look off, it could still be OK to use. You can also freeze dairy when it reaches its expiration date to prolong its life.


When it comes to dry ingredients, don't be so quick to toss. Some grains say best-by - that is when the grains will be at their best quality, the best freshness by the date.


With produce - you need to check carefully. A bag of greens might have the correct date, but be spoiled. Freezing your berries and veggies will extend its life.


Nut butters should be refrigerated when close to expiration dates, as they can go rancid.
If you have a story idea, question or tip, click here to reach out to Janice.