When you take a trip to Taco Bell, it’s probably not because you are in the mood for a salad — probably not even a taco salad. Chances are, you’re craving comfort food or something indulgent, such as a smothered burrito or a hash brown-filled Crunchwrap. It may not surprise you to hear that these foods are far from a dieter’s delight.

Deep in the recesses of most people’s refrigerators lives a half-eaten bottle of salsa, some takeout Chinese food and last week’s chicken dinner. Pulling one of those things out, you wonder: Can I eat it? Is it safe? A lot of commercially prepared items, such as sauces and condiments, have best-buy dates on the packaging to ensure flavor, not safety, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.