Thursday, February 25, 2010

Expiration dates

As I said recently, I think of expiration dates as general guidelines for when I should use food, and then, how I should prepare it. My husband, on the other hand, is more likely to follow those dates.

On Monday, I linked to an article from about how, well, I was right, and that food is generally safe for consumption past those little stamped dates. I also emailed it to my husband. He responded with this article about using expired foods to save money may not be worth the cost of gastronomical distress.

I thought that I should share it with you, as well. You know, present the other side of the argument and all. It's true, though. I wouldn't want to risk my health to save a few bucks, because in the long run, illness would end up costing more.

I do want to highlight a small portion of the article he sent me:

Sniff tests, as well as checking for any color changes, are usually good indicators of a food's safeness.

Many expiration dates are not symbolic of when the food actually expires, but simply a date that indicates how long before the food's characteristics change. They are also used as a suggestion of "best when used by" dates, or "sell by" dates for grocery stores. -Ashley Holstrom

Felt nice to see that in print. I am a big fan of the sniff test. A caution, though, sniff and sight tests are not fool-proof, and if you are uneasy about eating something, don't.

Here's an interesting site that will tell you how safe something is to consume after the stated expiration date.

1 comment:

Margaret said...

I'm all for sniffing but it also depends on what sort of food you are talking about and how you have been storing it. Again, still, I don't do the shopping or much of the cooking, but I would treat meat and fish differently from milk or dried beans. If it was hard cheese I would ignore the date and cut off anything that actually looked bad. I might take risks with myself that I wouldn't with visiting small children or elderly or pregnant people.

Try to buy and use fresh food. Bulk buy to be frugal, but don't forget about what you ahve bought. Menu plan with what you have in bulk. Use yesterdays leftovers as soon as possible, that piece of fish from a week ago lurking in the fridge is probably not a good idea.

I don't know how expiry dates on eggs work in the US but we keep some ducks and chickens. We date the eggs with the date they are laid and eat them in that order. If our neighbours want eggs we always give them the freshest ones. We don't refrigerate them but we do keep them fairly cool.