In addition to making the best effort you can in saving money at the grocery by using coupons, grocery loyalty cards, and other means I have discussed, it’s also important to think about what happens to the food once you buy it. What can often be a puzzling enterprise is deciphering manufacturer’s expiration or use by dates. Although it seems that products are becoming a bit more user friendly in listing this information, there is still a bit of a mystery surrounding what goes into those arcane looking UPC codes on the sides and bottoms of food containers.
Fear not, the following articles can help you translate what the language and codes actually mean so you don’t find yourself eating expired food. This article and this article can help you determine those codes’ actual meanings. And, there is also a site that allows you to pop in UPC codes to learn about the manufacturer, including how to read their own product codes. At this time, food labeling is not a standardized practice, according to the USDA, so practices vary.
Remember, check these dates before you leave the store, too. In these tight times, it’s a good idea to do one last check on perishable items’ expiration dates to ensure that you will retain the full value of a product before it goes bad. Salad and milk, I think, are among top offenders for being left on the shelf a little too long. And, recently, CVS settled a lawsuit for selling expired products.