Officials from the Hudson Valley are warning about food expiration dates.

Most people don't know the true meaning of food expiration dates, according to the District Attorney’s Division of Consumer Affairs. You can still eat most foods that are past its expiration date, however, it might not be as tasty, officials say.

Consumer Affairs issued these guidelines to follow when dealing with expiration dates:

  •  Sell by This is the “expiration date” but does not mean the product must be pulled from sale or that it cannot be sold after that date;
  •  Best if used by Flavor or quality is best by this date but the product is still edible thereafter;
  •  Use by This is the last day that the manufacturer vouches for the product’s quality.

"Most consumers are surprised to learn that stores are not legally required to remove food once the expiration date has passed. They are strictly “advisory” in nature. Dating is not federally required, except for infant formula. States have varying laws. Most states – not New York - require that milk and other perishables be sold before the expiration date," the Ulster County District Attorney’s Division of Consumer Affairs said in a press release.

Most food expiration dates are supposed to be viewed as a guide to the consumer, rather than an actual expiration date, officials say.

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