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Food code dates are often misleading.

Photo of the end of a canned good, showing an expiration date

"My local food pantry gives out expired food!"

  • If your pantry is distributing the food, it is safe to eat.
  • Many foods (especially canned foods) are safe to eat well beyond the expiration date printed on their packaging.
  • If foods packages are severely damaged, smell or look funny, don't eat them.
Try This

Talk to your food pantry staff if you have concerns, but know that food banks are very careful to keep clients safe.

Decoding Expiration Dates

Understanding what food code dates mean and how long certain foods last after their expiration date.

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