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Author Topic: Are Food expiration date really valid?  (Read 621 times)

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Offline urleft

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Are Food expiration date really valid?
« on: August 08, 2017, 07:55:30 PM »
I have come to ignore most food expiration dates, I rely more on looks, smell, and lastly taste.  For canned food, it the can is not bulging it may be good well past the date stamp.  Even with meats, US markets often change the expiration dates because it is still good.   

I  believe expiration dates are more based on averting possible lawsuits than reality.


So last week I use expired oil to cook.  However, when I opened the coffee with an expiration date of 2010 it hit the trash can right away. 

Food expired? Don't be so quick to toss it

By Alexandra Sifferlin, TIME.com


Updated 2152 GMT (0552 HKT) September 19, 2013


Use-by dates are contributing to millions of pounds of wasted food each year.

A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard Law School's Food Law and Policy Clinic says Americans are prematurely throwing out food, largely because of confusion over what expiration dates actually mean.

Most consumers mistakenly believe that expiration dates on food indicate how safe the food is to consume, when these dates actually aren't related to the risk of food poisoning or foodborne illness.

Food dating emerged in the 1970s, prompted by consumer demand as Americans produced less of their own food but still demanded information about how it was made. The dates solely indicate freshness, and are used by manufacturers to convey when the product is at its peak. That means the food does not expire in the sense of becoming inedible.
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/19/health/sell-by-dates-waste-food/index.html





Online BillH52

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Re: Are Food expiration date really valid?
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2017, 08:25:08 PM »
"food expiration dates"

aka - "best if used by" date, "Pack" date, "Guaranteed fresh" date, "Sell by" date, to name a few. However,
"when in doubt, throw it out" continues to be a tried, true and proven practice in all cases.

Offline urleft

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Re: Are Food expiration date really valid?
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2017, 09:07:27 PM »
I don't necessarily agree, I think it should be viewed on a case by case bases.  For example, I have several bottles of Extra Virgin Olive oil.  I assume they were packaged in air tight sterilized dark glass bottles.  I am storing them in a light free cabinet.  I would expect them to last years beyond their expiration date.   

Now fresh food, milk and eggs need to be monitored.  But when does sour cream go bad?  How about yogurt?  Yes, if either come out moldy green, they are bad, but 2 days beyond the expiration date? 

And how long are bottled dried spices viable?   

How about vinegar?  If whiskey and wine can be aged for decades, why not vinegar?  And don't forget aged cheese.

But aged beef, wow, yummy. 


Online BillH52

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Re: Are Food expiration date really valid?
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2017, 06:09:44 AM »
As stated, the term "expiration date" is a bit misleading.  As demonstrated, "best if used by" date, "Pack" date, "Guaranteed fresh" date, "Sell by (for max quality)" date - all might be more appropriate and to your liking; but remains true and factual.  Rules and regs re proper storage, temps, dates & practices, etc. fill complete libraries.

The #1 rule of thumb in the world of professional "Food Safety" is "when in doubt, throw it out";  ie, when you are in doubt about olive oil, vinegar, dried spices - throw it out; end of discussion. The only item known to be safe in all historic cases is honey.  Otherwise, if it is for your own consumption and you are ok with it, go ahead & eat it; best to not experiment your loved ones.
 
Even dry aged beef has a date you might begin to doubt its safety, altho I have seen it cooked and served to the public (after the fact) when its "ripeness" in smell and  color was obvious to everyone.  This rather large facility was really spooky after it was shut down, with only the owner and I sitting at a table waiting for the Health Department.  I was there as a certified food safety instructor and proctor; however, old habits are hard to break as the place eventually landed on the list of Legionnaires disease cases.


Offline urleft

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Re: Are Food expiration date really valid?
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2017, 06:36:22 AM »
LOL, you obviously know what you are talking about, thanks for the insight.  And I fully concur with your statement:  "when in doubt, throw it out";




Offline davureborn

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Re: Are Food expiration date really valid?
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2017, 08:03:50 AM »
After dating for a year or two, a girl I knew invited her boyfriend to move in. On the first day when she was at work he threw out all the food that was past its 'sell by' date. The next day he threw out all the potatoes as  they were growing shoots. That was the day she threw HIM out, end of relationship.
I always understood these 'sell by' and 'best before' dates as a guide to supermarket management as to when to order new stock. Many shops in Switzerland will offer stuff at half  price for a few days before finally throwing stuff out, one of the many advantages of not being a member of the accursed EU. I was a big customer of these shops and never suffered ill effects, unfortunately beer wasn't on offer.
The container round the back of one place I visited was also a source of good quality food though I was bit choosier about what I took and you had to get there at the right time.  They eventually closed it off.

Online BillH52

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Re: Are Food expiration date really valid?
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2017, 10:50:58 AM »
"a guide to supermarket management" is exactly correct.  Beyond that, honest personal common sense should be the guide.

My wife sometimes places more focus on stamped "expiration date" information than is needed.  It is a great bit of information to alert you to consider the items current quality, safety and validity, but doesn't need to replace honest personal common sense.  In some cases the "expiration date" can be used for purposes of increasing sales which is rather disgusting, but true. 
However, the #1 rule in food safety, ServSafe, Professional Food Safety certification programs an others remains valid:  "when in doubt, throw it out".  Rusted cans or seams - yes; bulged cans - absolutely dispose of it.  Dented cans - careful inspection (probable disposal).  In many cases, the best "disposal" is to open the container and make sure it is properly "disposed of" so it can not be dug out of the trash and find its way to someones kitchen table on down the road.   

Three steps to easy and simple way to prevent the vast majority of food borne illness?  #1 - wash your hands. #2 - wash your hands. #3 - wash your hands.

Offline urleft

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Re: Are Food expiration date really valid?
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2017, 11:18:19 AM »

Three steps to easy and simple way to prevent the vast majority of food borne illness?  #1 - wash your hands. #2 - wash your hands. #3 - wash your hands.

And make sure the food handler/preparer washes their hands.


Offline urleft

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Re: Are Food expiration date really valid?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2017, 11:23:46 AM »
'Edible' 100-year-old cake from Scott expedition found in the Antarctic



    Emma Gatten

11 August 2017 ? 4:01pm

A 100-year-old fruitcake believed to be from the Scott expedition has been found in a nearly "edible" state in the Antarctic.

The cake, wrapped in paper and stored inside a rusted tin, was found in the Antarctic's oldest building, a hut on Cape Adare.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/11/edible-100-year-old-cake-scott-expedition-found-antarctic/


Of course one wonders if fruitcake is ever edible.  Wonder what was the expiration date on it.




Offline DeputyDavid

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Re: Are Food expiration date really valid?
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2017, 08:22:56 PM »
A bit off topic but I used to love my mom's fruitcake. Made it every Christmas. Made extra which sat in a closet for months. A slice with a bit of cheddar cheese or cream cheese if we were lucky enough to have it was fantastic. I always thought the stuff would last forever!

 

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