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Do You Eat Foods Past Their Expiration Date?

With different foods being recalled almost every other month, food-borne illnesses are on everyone's mind a bit more. We use those expiration dates stamped on boxes, cans, and containers as guidance of what to toss and what is safe to eat. Since money is tight, folks are relying on the sniff test more than the printed "sell-by" date. Regardless, it is estimated that on average, a family of four throws out 120 pounds of food in one month. Both Prevention and Real Simple have tips on how long many foods really last past their use-by date. Yogurt, for example, is generally OK to eat for 10 to 14 days past its expiration date, and eggs last for up to a month past their sell-by date. That is as long as they are kept in a refrigerator set to 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

So what about you . . .


aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I'm with nancita. If it's a few days I still will.
georgie2 georgie2 8 years
Depends on what it is. Milk never. In fact, I throw it out before the date if I think it smells funny. But stuff like, say, a packet of chips, probably yes.
zeppelinrules zeppelinrules 8 years
no way
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
Yes, today in fact. Our milk was a day past due, but it was just fine on my cereal.
opentypeA opentypeA 8 years
Guilty! I'm a vegetarian, but meat would be one thing I wouldn't EVER eat past the expiration date. Though I'm embarrassed to admit it, everything else is fair game (so long as it looks/smells/tastes okay!)...
insanitypepper insanitypepper 8 years
My grandmother won't buy milk at the store if the sell by date is less than a week away. This is so aggravating, because I know she's going to buy another gallon of milk in exactly a week when she still has at least half a gallon left in her refrigerator, soon to go down the drain just because the date said that it was no longer good. And don't you dare try to suggest to her that she only buy what she needs...
Smilesp Smilesp 8 years
If it smells and tastes ok then I'll eat it regardless of the date. Throwing away perfectly good food is idiotic.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 8 years
I do sometimes :p But only if they still taste 'ok' and smell fine as well.
soapbox soapbox 8 years
Yep. Fat Free milk lasts for a good 2 days after the expiration date and eggs lasts a long time when kept in the fridge. Also, I tend to ignore it on bread also. If its not moldy/crusty, its good in my book haha. Myy only exception is soy milk. I swear, after about 3 days of it being opened, it starts to taste funny.
rebelkate rebelkate 8 years
Never ever, ever, ever eat it past the date on the package. I even smell fresh food just to make sure it's good. You can't be too careful considering all the places the food has been before it finally gets into your hands at the store. Who knows if milk,eggs,yogurt,meat sat on a pallet somewhere for an hour before they got it put away into refrigeration. Just something to think about....
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I always eat stuff that's past the just have to know what to look for as far as spoilage goes. If you keep your milk in the back of the fridge and don't leave it out on the counter for extended periods of time, it's usually OK up to a month after the day on the jug. I generally use old milk like that as "buttermilk"...I add a little vinegar to it to make it thick and I use it in recipes instead of buttermilk and it tastes completely fine. I also keep yogurt past the date because all that really happens to yogurt is that the cultures just keep growing and the yogurt gets firmer and tarter. I actually LIKE old yogurts because the texture is more creamy. Most things in my fridge are actually very fresh though...I keep a running inventory of when I buy stuff and I know how much of something we use in a certain timeframe, so I tend to not overbuy things. I rarely, if ever, have to throw out spoiled foods. And no, we've never gotten food poisoning either. If my food doesn't smell bad, look different, have mold on it, or taste funny, it's probably fine, especially if it's been stored properly.
nancita nancita 8 years
Great to know. Usually if it looks and smells fine and it's just a little past the date, I'll eat it. People think I'm crazy but I don't believe the numbers are that exact.
AMP AMP 8 years
if it smells ok, looks ok and a little taste deems it to taste ok, ill eat it. i hate wasting food
mondaymoos mondaymoos 8 years
I used milk that was a week past sell-by this morning in my oatmeal. :P It appears I'm still alive. Admittedly, a week is as far as I push it. I had to pour about 1/4 of the 1/2 gallon down the drain. :(
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
Its really sad how wasteful some people are and I hate to say it but its also sad to see how some people think its funny to throw things out BEFORE food expires. Like enough people aren't starving and scraping by in the world. Very unsettling.
michlny michlny 8 years
Just read about this site today --> - Your Ultimate Shelf Life Guide. You can look up any food. It's great!
Renee3327 Renee3327 8 years
I agree with previous comments that expiration dates are different from sell-by or best by dates. I have mistakenly had yogurt that was a few days past the expiration date and nothing ever happened - as long as it doesn't taste, look or smell strange I don't see the harm. Expiration dates aren't an exact science anyway.
miss-malone miss-malone 8 years
Never ever.
littlekaren littlekaren 8 years
I recently made cookies with my 8 year old and decided to use shortening, which I never do. I made about 4 batches of cookies from scratch and THEN realized that, yes indeed, shortening does eventually go bad. I went to the garbage can and looked for the expiration date: OVER A YEAR PAST IT. (They actually weren't terrible, but just funky enough that no one in the house would eat much of them. The squirrels out back liked them for a while, but eventually abandoned them also.) HA HA HA!
LindsayLou LindsayLou 8 years
I trust my sense of smell and taste more than a sell by date. I just use the sell by date as a general guide.
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 8 years
I will eat things like eggs and yogurt past its prime I just always check the texture and smell it too. I'll even drink milk a day after the date. Any more than that I can't do it, but I rarely have milk make it to the expiration date.
pharm_chick pharm_chick 8 years
i do, depending on the texture/smell etc. like ill throw out stale chips before their expiration date, but if you like, freeze/refrigerate bread, it stays good bast its exp date. unless its moldy, of course.
MrsRachel MrsRachel 8 years
It depends....most things are just fine for a little while. Waste not, want not.
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