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How Long Is Baby Food Good For After The Expiration Date?

If you’re anything like me, you learned long ago that you have to check the expiration date on food before throwing it into your cart. This especially applies to baby food.

When people stock things without moving the items on the back of the shelf up, they wind up with an entire shelf of expired baby food, which can then wind up in your pantry.

Thankfully, baby food is usually good if it looks good and smells good, which can be a few months after the expiration date. However, you want to make sure that you’re not feeding your little one anything that’s going to make them sick. 

Where To Find Expiration Dates On Baby Food

Before you head to the grocery store or even begin this mission of finding out what’s safe to feed your baby, you need to know how to read an expiration date on baby food. That means finding them. Some are in obvious places, while others are not. 

Check The Obvious Places

Most companies put their expiration dates in obvious places that are easy to find. Check the bottom of the jar. If it’s not there, check the top of the lid.

It can also be on the underneath of the lid, so you won’t be able to see it until you open the jar of baby food. For plastic containers of baby food, check the sides. The expiration date is usually on the side, top, or bottom in plain view. 

Where Is The Expiration Date On Beechnut Baby Food?

I have quite a few Beechnut baby food jars that were passed along from a friend after their child was no longer on baby food. Unlike my other baby food jars and plastic containers, the expiration date on Beechnut baby food jars was not in an obvious place.

If you’re wondering where is the expiration date on Beechnut baby food, check the side of the lid. Not the top or the underside. It should be in tiny print on the side, right where you would put your thumb if you were turning the lid. That’s where mine is. 

Mother Shopping with Baby in Supermarket

Where Is The Expiration Date On Baby Food Pouches?

If you have picked up on how convenient baby food pouches are, you’ve probably got a few of them in your pantry. The expiration date can typically be found anywhere on the pouch.

If it’s not in an obvious place, check by the bar code. Sometimes, it’s in fine print right underneath the bar code, which can make it easy to miss. 

What Does The Expiration Date Mean?

If you’re checking out expiration dates, you’ll notice different terms used. There might be one that states sell-by and another that says best used by, for example.

Once you know what those terms mean, it can make figuring out when it’s safe to give your little one baby food a little bit easier. 

What Does Sell By Date Mean?

If the product on the shelf says a sell-by date, it means that the store should sell it by that date. After that date, stores are supposed to pull it from the shelves. However, some stores are bound to miss a few products.

If you see a baby food jar with a sell-by date that has passed, don’t buy it. Instead, take it to the customer service desk and let them know. If you already have one and the sell-by date has passed, use it as soon as possible. 

Best By Date On Baby Food Jars

If your baby food has a best by date on it, it means that this is when the product is at it’s best. After this date passes, the overall quality of the food will begin to decrease. It will start to taste different and may smell different. 

Isn’t Use By Date The Same Thing As The Best By Date?

Essentially, yes these two things mean the exact same thing. It’s simply different wording. If you have any baby food that has a use-by date on it, it means that you should use it by that date.

After this date, the quality of the food decreases, and over time it can make your baby sick. 

When Can You Eat Baby Food Past Its Expiration Date?

Just because there is a date listed on the jar, pouch, or container of baby food doesn’t necessarily mean that the food will be toxic or inedible.

This date is used as a general guideline. Typically, there is a little bit of leeway as to what you can still feed your baby. 

Baby Food Containers Or Pouches

You can still safely give your little one either of this past the expiration date. If the product has been opened, it should be thrown away within a day after being opened.

If it’s unopened, you can safely feed it to your little one for another week or two. Some people swear that if it doesn’t smell bad, it won’t be a problem.

Personally, I throw them out within a week just to be on the safe side. It’s always better to be safe instead of sorry, especially when it comes to babies. 

Baby Cereal

Baby cereal will not go bad as soon as baby food does. Most grains and cereals will last months after their expiration date, and the same applies to baby cereal.

After the expiration date, baby cereal will taste a little bit different to your baby. However, it’s unlikely that your little one will get sick. You can keep this stuff in the pantry for another 3-4 months. 

Baby Snacks, Like Puffs

Baby snacks usually have the same general rules that apply to baby cereal. These will remain in edible condition for another 3-4 months, but they will taste different than they normally would.

It’s best to use them as soon as possible if the use-by date is coming up. However, you don’t have to worry that you’re going to make your little one sick by feeding them baby puffs a week after their expiration date.

Baby food, baby eating

Can You Give A Baby Formula If It’s Expired?

Yes and no. The most formula will begin to decrease in quality as other foods do, but for baby formula in particular this means that the nutrients start to degrade.

If your baby is relying primarily on the formula to satisfy their nutritional needs, those might not be met with a can of expired formula.

However, if you have to feed your little one and all you have is a can that is expired, you don’t have to worry about it making your little one sick. Pick up some that are not expired as soon as possible. 

In Conclusion

Most formula and baby food jars are good for a year. If you have anything that is expiring soon or has expired in the last week, make sure to use it as soon as possible. If you’re ever unsure, just remember “when in doubt, throw it out.”