Expiration dates-How much do they Matter?


Last time we moved, we didn’t just have to move our furniture, clothing, animals and assorted junk, we also had to pack up all of our foodstuffs and it was a pain! A large chunk of it also went into the garbage. To say it was a waste of resources would be putting it mildly.

So I’m starting a new “experiment”-I call it eat-everything-in-the-house or the cheap-persons-diet; Month-old food, expired snacks, overpriced foodie stuff that my mother-in-law buys us every Christmas that we swear we will eat and then promptly forget. It’s all getting eaten by moi!

Now, I’m not eating rotten meat or things with mold colonies growing on it, I’m just not taking the expiration date on dry packaged products quite as literally as I used to. Maybe it’s a risk but I just don’t want to throw out what might be perfectly edible food that is slightly less fresh.

What about you guys? How long do you keep food? Do you eat expired goods?


10 thoughts on “Expiration dates-How much do they Matter?

  1. writerdood

    My wife pays attention to the expiration dates. Me, not so much – unless it’s meat or dairy products, of course. I have this spice rack that’s about ten years old. You know how that goes. The spices you use are gone, and the ones you don’t use look like faded powder. The labels are all worn off. I figure out what they are by smelling them. Karo syrup has been in that cupboard for years. Crystallized containers of honey – I just microwave them and use them anyway. Baking soda – does it ever go bad? I have no idea. Yeast packets are garbage after a month, but it’s still in there. That cabinet really needs to be cleaned out.

  2. pinklea

    I have never worried overly much about expiration dates. I figure if I can’t see or smell anything bad from an opened package, or if it hasn’t even been opened, it’s probably okay. It may not end up being as good as it was meant to be, but it’s probably safe to eat.

    And I’ve survived a few more years than you have, so it’s worked for me (so far)!

  3. Zhu

    I don’t pay too much attention unless it’s dairy, tofu, etc. I keep condiments, jam, soups, sugar and all for quite a while. I think common sense prevails, as long as if looks fine and smells fine… it probably is!

  4. Tania

    Yeah, expiry and best-before dates are a couple of those things that I neurotically obey … I have a fear of eating gone-off food and getting sick. Happened a few too many times for my liking. I feel nauseated just thinking about it! :S

  5. Pie

    There was a news article about this in the UK last year saying that many people didn’t understand the difference between the use by and best before labels and assumed all food must be destroyed by a particular date.

    I’m sure you all know this already, but just to recap: the use by labelling means the food item shouldn’t be used beyong that date. This usually covers fresh food like meats and dairy. The best before labelling means the food item can still be used after that date, but the quality won’t be as good.

    Like everyone else, I won’t eat chicken, fish, or dairy if it’s past its use by date, although I do like to live dangerously and play tummy roulette with humous from time to time. I’ll eat almost anything past it’s best before date. Unless I open a can/packet and find the contents wearing a fur coat called mould, or walking along the work top.

  6. bevchen

    Depends on the food. Yoghurt is thrown away as soon as it reaches its use-by date. Eggs I do the float test (if it floats don’t eat it!). Anything that has a “Best before” date I eat after that date, as long as it still looks and smells good.

  7. L A Cochran

    I’ve been known to eat yogurt that’s a month past the expiry, if it’s not swollen or funky smelling (yogurt already is turned so how do you know?!).

    Generally, if it smells like it should and I don’t see movement when I open the box I figure whatever it is is just fine.

    That which does not kill me makes me effin immortal, right?! Bring on that 2007 cereal!

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