How strict are Use by dates?

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Use by. You'll see "use by" dates on food that goes off quickly, such as smoked fish, meat products and ready-prepared salads. Don't use any food or drink after the end of the "use by" date on the label, even if it looks and smells fine. This is because using it after this date could put your health at risk..
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one to two weeksThe EatByDate and Food University blogs explain unopened Greek yogurt is safe to eat one to two weeks after the sell-by date, as long as it has been in the refrigerator. Regular yogurt is safe even longer -- up to two to three weeks. The older it gets, the more sour it will taste.
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A "sell-by" date is for the store's own use, so the staff at the meat counter knows when to mark down a package or remove it from the display. A chicken sell-by date, then, is just a reminder for the store staff. It doesn't tell you whether the chicken is still at its best, let alone whether you need to throw it out..
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How long does raw chicken last in the refrigerator? After chicken is purchased, it may be refrigerated for 1 to 2 days - the "sell-by" date on the package may expire during that storage period, but the chicken will remain safe to use after the sell by date if it has been properly stored..
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1 to 2 daysUse or freeze beef, veal, pork, and lamb products with a "Sell-By" date within 3 to 5 days of purchase. Fresh chicken, turkey, ground meat, and ground poultry should be cooked or frozen within 1 to 2 days of purchase.
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Rather, a sell-by date assumes consumers will eat or freeze the product within a reasonable time after buying it. For beef, that's three to five days, as the USDA advises. It's therefore perfectly safe to cook steak one day past the sell-by date, or even a few days after it.
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