DEAR PEGGY: How long can you keep canned goods after the sell-by date? Also, how about cake, cookie and bar mixes? —D.S., Redmond, Washington
You've asked a great question. According to Del Monte, canned foods have a shelf life of 2-1/2 to 3 years from the manufacture date, assuming the can is not damaged in any way. After that time, the quality may deteriorate, although the contents would be safe.
According to the Duncan Hines Web site, cake mix should be used within 1 year from the date it was manufactured for the best results. Since cookie and bar mixes have mainly the same ingredients as cake mix, they should also be used within one year from the manufacture date.