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General Discussion 6

Food Safety - store sell-by date vs USDA recommendation

papsology | Jan 19, 201508:46 PM

This has been bothering me for some time...

I get my chicken parts (skin-on, bone-in) from the local grocery here in Ohio. They are packed in sealed plastic (but not vacuum-sealed), and typically have a "sell-by" date that is 6-7 days in the future.

Meanwhile, the USDA suggests limiting home storage to 1-2 days after the date of purchase. They specifically state to use the 1-2 days recommended in their chart even if the product has a sell-by date (

You can see where I am going with this - my home fridge is ~36 F, and I can't imagine the chicken is going to 'see' any difference between my fridge and that of the supermarket. Can anyone help me understand why there are two vastly different storage times? Is the USDA being ridiculously cautious? Or is my grocery using 'long' sell-by dates to trick me into thinking the chicken is very fresh?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!


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