Sell-by and best-by dates contribute to food waste in the US. Why? While these dates can give you a time frame for consuming a product, they can often be misleading and entirely arbitrary.

Often the “best if used by,” “sell-by,” and “use-by” designations are just manufacturers’ best guesses about how long their food will taste its freshest. Supermarkets may also use the dates as a guide when stocking shelves. But the dates typically have nothing to do with how safe the food is, and there is no set standard nationwide for these dates. The obvious test with a lot of products is the smell/look test and using good common sense. Foods don’t actually “expire” and most are safe to eat even after these date have passed. 

If you'd like more information, please click this link to read the FDA's explanation of these dates:

Our policy

Rather than let perfectly good food go to waste, we often recover items that are close to their sell-by date! We quality inspect and taste test anything that comes into our facility. Sometimes you may also see items on our marketplace that are past the sell-by date. Our Food Safety Manager reviews these items and provides guidelines for their quality and sale. 

We would never offer an item for sale past its date without having our team quality inspect and taste-test the item.  We also don't sell perishable items such as dairy, proteins, or eggs past their date. Your health and safety is our number one concern!

If you would prefer not to consume items passed the date that is completely fine! We always try to include the sell-by date in the item's description on our Marketplace. You can review the date and make the decision that is best for you and your family.

A field guide to dates

Ever wondered what the difference is between those dates? Here's a little cheat sheet:

  • A "Best if Used By/Before" date indicates when a product will be of best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.

  • A "Sell-By" date tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management. It is not a safety date.

  • A “Use-By" date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. It is not a safety date except for when used on infant formula.

  • A “Freeze-By” date indicates when a product should be frozen to maintain peak quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.

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