Our expert says:
Strictly speaking the sell by date and the "best before date" are used to indicate how long a product can be stored without it: a) losing its taste, aroma, and texture, and b) going off. Dry goods can usually be kept for a long time without deterioration, but if you check the "best before date" on products like canned goods, etc, I would personally not use them if more than 6 months have elapsed after the given date. For example if the "Best before date" was January 2008, I would definitely discard the can or spices, etc now that it is November of 2008. I had a similar case the other day when I checked my cupboard and found a tin of condensed milk that was more than 6 months older than the sell by date. When I opened it, it had changed colour and the taste was certainly not as good as when one buys a fresh tin, so I emptied it down the drain.
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