The Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute, two of the most influential groups in the food industry, are advising their members (which include most major food manufacturers and retailers) to abolish their "Expires on" and "Sell by" dates. Those dates often convince over-cautious consumers to throw perfectly good food into the trash.
Instead, the groups are asking companies to use just two labels: "Best if used by" a particular date, which would probably go on most foods, and "Use by" for products that could become less safe as they age. Expiration dates on food are not required by any federal law, although some states require such dates on meat or milk. As a food product passes its "expiration" date, it may get stale, and some products, like milk, may go sour. But most spoiled foods, though unpalatable, aren't particularly hazardous.
Source: NPR, 2/15/17, Sell By Date