When it comes to expiration dates, NPR reports that you should consider them more as suggestions than hard-and-fast rules about food spoilage. What you should really be keeping in mind is that if it doesn’t smell rotten, then it probably hasn’t gone bad yet.

“Those ‘sell by’ dates are there to protect the reputation of the food. They have very little to do with food safety. If you’re worried whether food is still OK to eat, just smell it.”

According to John Ruff of Institute of Food Technologists, expired food can be safe to eat. Canned food, for instance, often remains safe for a long time past its expiration stamp. What you do need to be concerned with is “the food that got contaminated with salmonella or listeria bacteria, or disease-causing strains of E. coli.”

[via NPR]