He's referring to the often baffling dates stamped on food labels, which, in reality, have little to do with safety — and pose little danger if ignored, except in the case of infant formula — according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Sell by" tells the store how long — for inventory reasons — to display the product. "Use by" is the last date the food will be at its peak, similar to "best by," the last date for optimal flavor and quality. In response to consumer confusion, the government created a detailed list of how long foods can be considered fresh. Nevertheless, dates on packaging confuse people and often prompt many shoppers to toss food that's still safe and wholesome to eat.