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Paying Extra Attention to Expiration Dates

June 10, 2019

As a food handler in the state of Texas, your priority is to ensure the safety of your customers. One of the easiest ways to do so is to pay attention to the expiration dates found on the products you use.

Sadly, many business owners and operators need a refresher course on the meaning behind expiration dates and the importance of following them regarding specific products. Here’s a quick refresher course to read through before reapplying for your Texas Food Handler’s certification.


Are Expiration Dates Federally Required?

The honest answer is that aside from infant formula and baby food, there is no requirement by Federal regulations for products to be labeled with an expiration date. There are statewide requirements across over 20 states in the U.S. but that still leaves a lot of room for error and potential foodborne illness.

There is no uniform system used to date food in the United States. That is why there can be some confusion involved with some of the different types of labels found on perishable foods.


Differences in Dates

The only main requirement when it comes to creating expiration dates is to label the product with the month, day of month, year and a phrase that signifies what the date stands for.



This date is mainly for retailers. It signifies how long a store has to display the product for consumer sale.


Best if Used By

While this is not necessarily a safety warning, it is a date that is recommended for the best flavor or best quality of a product.


Date Marking

Once you’ve opened a perishable item, examining the date marking on the product will help you determine how long you have to use the product at the establishment. Typical types of foods that are date marked include refrigerated foods and deli meats.

Under refrigerated conditions, these products are susceptible to Listeria bacteria. Following the date marking on your goods will help your location to avoid any problems with bacteria exposure to your guests.


When in Doubt, Toss it Out!

Since most food labels are not a requirement, sometimes general common sense must come into play at your establishment. If you find that your food has a pungent odor or unnatural look and flavor to it, chances are it has reached its expiration date and should be disposed of immediately.

You only want to serve quality products to your customers. That’s why we say when in doubt, toss it out!


Is Your Certification Expired? Certified On The Fly Can Help

If your Food Handler certification has reached its expiration date, don’t let another day without it pass by. Certified On The Fly is an online course that is fast, affordable, and works around your schedule. Make sure that you keep your guests and employees safe by enrolling today in our online Food Handler’s certification course.

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