For certain foods (e.g., deli salads, fresh meat and poultry, fresh fish, dairy products), there is a safety issue. But for many shelf-stable items — such as mustard — there is no safety issue and the product does not deteriorate in quality when it reaches the date on the jar.
Case in point: we have about a case of the wonderful Tracklement’s Piccalilli, the English mustard-based pickled vegetable condiment, and the jars have a best by date of September 2014. It’s wonderful now and will be wonderful for months to come, even longer. As a mustard aficionado, you owe it to yourself to try it. We’ll even put it on sale — reg. $10.00, on sale for $7.00.
To learn more about food waste in America, watch this interview with Harvard’s Emily Broad Leib:
IAFP Interview: Leib on Expiration Dates and Food Waste