Decoding Dates and Numbers on Packaged Foods

Reading food label
Photo from: TheFamilyGP.com

If you’re confused by all of the random numbers printed on canned, boxed, or packaged food items, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Here are some tips to help you decode those numbers and decide what is the best course of action to take.

 

What do the dates mean?

Since there is little federal regulation on product dating, the format may differ for each company that voluntarily chooses to include such dates. Here are a few dates in particular that you should pay attention to:

  • “Best if used by/best before”: eat the item by this date in order to ensure best flavor and quality. The food item is safe to consume a little while after peak freshness.
  • “Use by/before“: similar to the “best if used by/best before” date, this date indicates the last day the item will be at its peak quality. After this date, product quality (i.e., color, flavor) will gradually deteriorate. Since this date is similar to an expiration date, it is advised to discard the item past this printed date.
  • “Sell by”: indicates the last day the manufacturer can have the item displayed for sale. While this date is less of a concern for canned foods due to their long shelf-life, it is helpful for rotating cans and making sure that older items are eaten first.

Continue reading “Decoding Dates and Numbers on Packaged Foods”

Want FREE Food? Stop by The SHOP!

Snack Boxes
Photo by: Kirsten Mancosky


That’s right, FREE food! The SHOP (Students Helping Our Peers) is an on-campus food pantry for students located in the Food Science Building room 2616. We are excited to share our promotional event with you. Come by The SHOP on Thursday, February 13, 2014 from 1PM to 6 PM to pick up this delicious box of goodies shown above!

The SHOP also open each week Tuesday through Thursday from 3PM to 6PM. Utilizing our service is completely anonymous and available to all students. In addition to this box of snacks, we also provide non-perishable items (i.e., canned/boxed food), household items, and personal care items.

For more information about this great resource, visit:

Any further questions or comments about the organization can be directed to SHOP President, Kirsten Mancosky (mancosky@iastate.edu).

 

U.S. Food Pantries and The SHOP Help Food Insecure Students

Photo by: Claire Powell
ISU students and faculty/staff members can choose from a variety of non-perishable food, personal care, and household items at The SHOP. With rising tuition rates and an increased need for loans, the food pantry is being regularly utilized by students.

According to American Student Assistance in 2012, approximately 37 million students (and counting!) across the United States have outstanding student loans. Of those 37 million students, 66.5% are under the age of 40. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimates that of the whopping $870 billion in total student loan debt, $580 billion comes from American students ages 40 and below.

With the cost of college attendance on the rise each year, students and their families are finding themselves in a major financial crisis due to expenses that range from student tuition to textbooks, down payments for local housing and utilities. As a result, millions of students are turning toward financial aid and loans in desperate need of help. The unfortunate reality is that many students worry about living independently because they simply can’t pay their loans off. And so the big question must be raised, is it worth falling into debt over our own education? Continue reading “U.S. Food Pantries and The SHOP Help Food Insecure Students”