When it comes to donating items for a food drive in your community, you may be concerned with the expiration dates on specific items; what do they actually mean? Believe it or not, many items are still edible past the date listed on the packaging. Here we list some tips to understanding expiration dates as well as some misconceptions regarding commonly donated foods.
Sell By vs. Best if Used By: "Sell by" is solely for the retailer; this helps guide them on how long they should keep the product out on the floor, whereas "best if used by" is used for quality purposes! Do not be concerned with safety here, as much as you could be about freshness or taste.
Canned Goods: Many unopened canned goods, such as tomato sauce, prepared soups, and vegetables, are good for eighteen months past their expiration dates! However, if cans are dented, food banks are unable to give them out.
Crackers and pretzels: Can last up to three months past the expiration date!
Water Bottles: Many companies put a two-year date on water bottles, but if they are unopened, they can last for much longer!
Processed peanut butter vs. Natural peanut butter: Processed peanut butter can last up to two years, whereas natural peanut butter can last up to nine months.