Join our community of Solution Seekers!

Does That Date Really Mean a Dairy Product Has Expired?

Real Simple answers your questions.

Glass of milkBeatriz da Costa
Q. What is the real meaning of the use-by date on dairy products?
Judy Allen
Opelika, Alabama

 A. Dairy products typically bear a use-by date, which, according to the Food and Drug Administration, is the last date of the product’s peak quality, as determined by the manufacturer. Because there are no set guidelines, the use-by dates vary from product to product, company to company.

If you see an expired date on a package, don’t chuck the food right away. Most companies typically say that foods are fine to eat a few days after the use-by date, unless they have been mishandled―for example, have been let to stand at room temperature. Remember to use good judgment: Toss products that have developed odors or that look past their prime. This is definitely an area where it’s better to be safe than sorry. ―Lindsay Funston 
 Ask a Question
Got a practical dilemma? Submit your question.
Your submission to, including contact information, gives us the right to modify, use, distribute, reproduce, publish and display the submission indefinitely in all media, means, and forms without any payment to you. You hereby represent that you haven't copied the content from a book, magazine, newspaper, or other commercial source. Your submission to, and your use of the website are subject to Real Simple's Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
(For questions about your subscription, please visit the Customer Service Help Desk.)
Read More About:Ask Real Simple

Related Content

Iron and ironing board

The Best Way to Iron Pants

You asked, we answered.

What do you think about this article? Share your own solutions and ideas

View Earlier Comments