How Can I Tell If the Food in My Refrigerator or Freezer Is Safe to Eat?

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So if these dates, the sell by, use by, best by dates really don't mean when the food is going to spoil how do you know? Well you can use COT, what does that stand for? Color, Odor and Texture. The reason why food spoils is because it's become contaminated with bacteria or microbes, and those change the color and the texture of the foods, so if something has gotten slimy or something suddenly has a strong odor or if the color has changed that is when you definitely know you need to throw it out.