A meat’s sell-by date doesn't really tell you whether the meat is safe to eat. While you should never purchase meat after its sell-by date, meat safety after purchase has more to do with how you store it after bringing it home from the market. If you don't store it properly, meat might become unsafe well before its sell-by date or might remain safe for months after its sell-by date. Sell-by dates assist retailers in knowing how long to display a product for sale while giving customers information on the deadline for purchasing a product. You should always purchase meat before its sell-by date.
Once you purchase meat, however, the sell-by date becomes meaningless. Sell-by dates only guarantee safety when meat is kept under the precise storage conditions found in commercial retailers, not the conditions present in a home refrigerator. After you purchase meat, you can only safely store it for a certain amount of time, regardless of the amount of time left on its sell-by date.