Okay, first, NO KIND OF FOOD “EXPIRES”.
Food that is in a packaging normally has either a “best before” date or a “use by” date. The main purpose of these dates is so that you can see how fresh something is before you buy it. For example, if I buy pre-packed meat in a supermarket I check the ones at the back of the row or bottom of the pile to see if there's one with a “use by” date that's after the ones at the front.
“Best before” dates suggest that after that date the product MIGHT have deteriorated. Something that's meant to be crisp may be a little soft. Something that's meant to be moist may be a little dry. The consistency might be too thick or too thin, the colour might be wrong. Chocolate sometimes has a bloom on it. This is exactly the same with food you might cook or bake at home. Home-made bread goes dry very quickly, so does cake. The chances are that many of the things with “best before” dates would be fine months or even years later. Canned food, provided the can isn't damaged, should literally last decades. On the other hand most loose fresh fruit and vegetables have no date on them at all - it's assumed that the customer will have enough sense not to eat rotten fruit and vegetables and that they'll be able to tell that a lettuce is wilted
If you have something that is past its “best before” date and want to know if it's still okay then the ONLY way to tell is to try it. Look at it, smell it and taste it.
With “use by” dates, in theory, the food could be inedible after that date - it might smell bad, taste bad and could even make you ill. But, again these dates tend to be very conservative and, again, the only way to tell if the food is okay is to examine it.
Personally, I don't usually keep fresh meat (and that includes fish) after its “use by” date - I don't throw it away, I either don't buy the food in the first place, I use it before the “use by” date or I freeze it.
Now, I know, this is the bit that sounds rude and I really don't mean to be but, a person who can't tell whether something as basic as food has “gone off” or just noticeably deteriorated really shouldn't be buying food or preparing their own meals. No one should need a date printed on packaging to tell them whether food is fresh enough to eat. There are idiots who post here who don't know enough to tell if milk or eggs are bad - that's frightening (I could tell when I was about eight). Note also that these dates apply only if the food is unopened and has been stored correctly. Milk might go off in a matter of hours if left in the warm sun. Bread will dry out very quickly if you put in in the fridge. Despite any “best before” date, jam should last for years BUT, open it and get some crumbs of bread and a smearing of butter in it from your knife and you'll get mould growing on it very quickly unless you refrigerate it. Canned food lasts just about forever BUT not once you've opened it.
Everyone needs to be able to use some common sense but a lot of (I guess young people) posting here just don't seem to have any.
Food dating was introduced to help the consumer. When I was a child my mother would sometimes buy milk that was, “on the turn” already, or bread that was obviously not very fresh, cream that was off the following day and, sometimes, the occasional egg that was bad. Food dating means that can't happen now: no one can pass of old food as fresh.
A lot of young people just seem lost by it though.
@ Joe, you're an idiot, of course food doesn't expire. Look up the word in a dictionary. You make my point very well - clueless.
Added, to these idiots who think food “expires” - upload a picture of a label on ordinary food (not baby food or drugs) that says “expires”. The word expires dies NOT mean goes stale or goes bad. Of course food goes bad or stale but anyone can see when that happens (or they should be able to.
How stupid are some of you people?