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Is It Safe to Use? How to Read Expiration Dates

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Are you confused about whether it’s safe to use products past their expiration dates? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! 

In this article, we’ll explore how to read different expiration date labels and formats. We’ll also discuss where to find expiration dates on various products. Plus, we’ll answer your burning questions about the safety of consuming expired food, medicine, and supplements.

So, let’s dive in and discover how to read expiration dates so you can avoid using unsafe products!

Why Should You Pay Attention To Different Expiration Date Labels?

When it comes to product safety and quality assurance, it is important for you to pay attention. By ensuring that the products you use meet safety standards, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from potential harm.

Quality assurance measures also help guarantee that the products you purchase will perform as intended, giving you peace of mind.

Importance of Product Safety and Quality Assurance

To ensure the safety and quality of the product, you should always prioritize the importance of product safety and quality assurance.

When it comes to the products you use, whether it’s food, cosmetics, or medication, it is crucial to ensure they meet the necessary safety standards. Product safety ensures that the item you are using is free from any harmful substances or defects that could potentially pose a risk to your health.

Quality assurance, on the other hand, focuses on maintaining a high level of quality throughout the manufacturing process. This ensures that the product meets the intended specifications and performs as expected.

How To Read Common Expiration Date Formats and Labels

How do you read an expiration date code? This is where date formats and labels come into play! 

When it comes to knowing how to tell expiration date, it’s important to know the meaning behind terms like ‘Best Before,’ ‘Use By,’ and ‘Sell By.’ These dates indicate the quality, safety, and freshness of a product.

What’s the Meaning of “Best Before,” “Use By,” and “Sell By” Dates?

These terms may seem similar, but they all refer to different things. Here is what each means:

Where To Find Date Codes and Batch Numbers

You can easily locate date codes and batch numbers on the packaging of most products. When trying to determine the expiration date of a product, these codes are your key. But how do you proceed with reading expiration dates?

Well, learning how to decode expiration dates is not as complicated as it may seem. Look for a combination of numbers and letters on the packaging. This code usually represents the date of production or the expiration date itself. The format may vary depending on the manufacturer, but typically, the code will include a series of numbers that represent the year, month, and day.

For example, if you see the code “200720,” it means the product expires on July 20, 2020.

Where To Find Expiration Dates on Various Products

When it comes to expiration dates, it’s important to know where to find them on different products.

Expiration Dates on Food, Medications, and Cosmetics

Check the expiration dates on your food, medications, and cosmetics to ensure their safety. It’s important to be aware of when these items expire, as using them past their expiration date can be risky.

For food, always check the date before consuming or cooking. Expired food can lead to food poisoning and other health issues.

Medications also have expiration dates. Using them after they expire may result in reduced effectiveness or even potential harm. Similarly, cosmetics can become less effective or even cause skin irritations if used past their expiration date.

Tips for Identifying Dates on Packaged and Fresh Items

It’s important to be familiar with how to identify dates on packaged and fresh items to ensure their quality.

When checking packaged items, look for the expiration date printed on the label. It is usually located near the bottom or on the side of the packaging.

Fresh items, such as fruits and vegetables, may not have an expiration date but, instead, have a “sell by” or “best by” date. These dates indicate when the item is at its peak freshness and quality.

Is It Safe To Eat Food Past the Expiration Date?

While it’s generally not recommended, eating food past the expiration date can be safe, depending on certain factors. Namely, if the food looks, smells, and tastes normal, it’s likely still good to consume. 

Additionally, some foods, like hard cheeses and cured meats, can actually improve in flavor over time. On the other hand, perishable items such as dairy products and meat should be discarded if they are past their expiration date.

Is It Safe To Consume Expired Medicine and Supplements?

If you’re considering taking expired medicine or supplements, remember that their effectiveness may be compromised. Expired medication and supplements could potentially be harmful to your health. 

When a medicine or supplement reaches its expiration date, it means that it may no longer be as potent as it once was. The chemical composition of the medication might have changed, making it less effective or ineffective entirely. Additionally, expired medication may have degraded over time, making it less safe to consume.

How To Avoid Using Products Past Their Expiration Dates?

If you’re wondering how to avoid using any type of product past its expiration date, here are a few things you can do.

Checking Dates Before Purchase

To make sure you’re buying fresh products, check the expiration dates before you make a purchase. It’s important to always be aware of the expiration dates on the items you buy, especially when it comes to perishable goods like dairy products, meat, and seafood.

By doing this, you can ensure that you are getting the best and safest products available. So, if the expiration date is approaching or has already passed, it’s best to put the item back on the shelf and choose a different one.

Raising Awareness Among Family Members About Expiration Dates

It’s important to raise awareness among your family members about expiration dates. You can start by having a conversation about the potential dangers of consuming expired products. Explain that expired items might not be safe to use and can lead to food poisoning or other health issues.

Encourage everyone to pay attention to expiration dates when using products and to discard anything that has expired. Make it a habit to regularly check the pantry and fridge for expired items and remove them.


There you have it—now you know how to tell the expiration date. Being aware of expiration dates is crucial for your safety. By understanding how to read the expiration date formats and labels, you can make informed decisions about the products you use.

It is important to note that consuming food past its expiration date can be risky, while expired medicine and supplements may have reduced effectiveness. To avoid using unsafe products, regularly check for expiration dates and properly store items.

Remember, your health and safety should always be your top priority.


How do you read a date code?

Learning how to read coded expiration dates first requires you to identify the format used by the manufacturer. It can be a combination of letters and numbers or a specific code. Then, refer to the manufacturer’s guide or website to decode the code and determine the date of manufacture or expiration.

Is the expiration date the day or year?

The expiration date typically includes both the day and the year. It indicates the last day on which a product is considered safe or effective to use. It is important to check the expiration date to ensure the product’s quality and avoid potential health risks.

What is an example of an expiry date?

An example of an expiry date is the date printed on food products indicating the last day they are safe to consume. It is a measure to ensure the quality and safety of the product and to prevent consumers from getting expired or potentially harmful items.

How is the expiration date set?

The expiration date is set by the manufacturer or creator of a product. It is determined through various factors like product stability, quality, and safety testing to ensure that the product remains effective and safe for use until the indicated date.

How long can you eat expired?

It is not recommended to eat expired food. Consuming expired food can be risky as it may contain harmful bacteria or toxins that can cause food poisoning. The duration of how long you can eat expired food depends on various factors, such as the type of food, storage conditions, and the extent of expiration.

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