Dating food items

The date does not correspond to the date by which the product must be consumed to ensure food safety; rather, the date is indicated for product quality.

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All foods that require time and temperature control (TCS) should be labeled with the following: The TCS food can be kept for seven days if it is stored at 41°F or lower.

If a TCS food is being served and the temperature is not being maintained, it needs to be labeled with the following: Cold foods must be sold or served within six hours.

After six hours any leftover cold food product must be discarded.

These products should be discarded, or frozen, by the recommended date on the package.

“Best if Used By” is meant to define product quality and not safety.