Truths about food expiration dates

Working in (on?) Antarctica was where I learned to ignore the dates. It’s not like you can go to the store for new stuff, after all. I’ve also worked in places that would just change the label on tubs of candy when they got close to a sell by date. They would also heat jars of honey that had begun to crystallize.


If they took the shells out, they wouldn’t be crunchy.


Wat. How is this even a thing for produce? I can’t even with this.


You are Sir Bedevere the Wise, and I claim my £5 !


The price of eggs has skyrocketed, so they will not be thrown out on a whim. I usually use up a carton of 12 in 2-3 weeks anyhow, so not generally a problem.


I should have said pre-packaged produce. I’ve never really questioned it but I guess it doesn’t make much sense having dates on pre-packaged produce but not loose produce.


… don’t you like milk with “structure” in it :crazy_face:


You mention two of the foods I treat very cautiously due to a very intense purge I once experienced over some possibly too-old sliced chicken. Sliced deli meats are eaten as quickly as possible, which is easy, because they’re yummy.

And milk. Some 40 years ago, college lunch counter, I bought a small chocolate milk. Took a nice big swig. Instead of delicious chocy-milk goodness, a bitter cottage cheese-like substance filled my mouth. I heaved it and a bit of breakfast into the nearest garbage can. Put me off mil of any sort for a bit.

To this day, I am highly suspicious of milk. I won’t even drink at my mom’s house.

I’m not generally squeamish about leftovers. I recently rotated some canned soup, 2 years past the date on the bottom, out of our small Zombie Apocalypse stores. All 12 cans eaten, no bad outcomes.

1 Like

Just yesterday I ate a packet of Trader Joe’s Indian Dal that said it expired about 6 months ago. I thought about it, but still ate it and I was fine. My theory is that if it’s designed to sit on a shelf unrefrigerated for a year or two, what’s another few months.

In a lot of the world eggs and cheese aren’t refrigerated as hard core as USians do. My wife makes fun of me for being anal retentive about refrigeration, her family is a lot more casual.


I have, once.

It’s an experience that stays with you. The stench is worse than you expect!


Though to be fair, that is partly because US eggs are washed and European ones aren’t. That said though, your overall point is correct. Most of what we refrigerate today was not stored thar way for hundreds of years before mechanical refrigeration was invented and it was fine. We refrigerate way more things than we really need to. Raw meat, milk, and some produce, maybe. That’s probably about it.

I think our modern obsession with refrigerating everything is part of a modern germophobia that has developed. Toilet seat covers, hand sanitizer (COVID not withstanding), spraying Lysol on kids toys, freaking out about toothbrushes stored near toilets, etc etc. People are crazy with this stuff now and most of it has zero health benefits.


In most bakeries there are huge amounts of butter and eggs sitting out because they need to be at room temp. We would only leave butter in the walk-in when the space was hot enough to melt a 50# block.


It’s funny- people forget that butter, yogurt, cheese, mustard, relishes, nut butters, jams, etc were invented specifically as ways to preserve perishable things at room temperature. Now people refrigerate all that stuff for no particular reason. :joy:


A friend has long referred to yougurt and cheese as “pre-spoiled milk”.


I refrigerate nut butters because I don’t like have to remix them again and again. I mix it once, really well to get the oil and solids distributed, and fridge it so it stays that way.


Understand Captain America GIF


A lot of products in Japan have expiration dates that say in the fine print “If unopened. Please consume as soon as possible after opening.”

Breaking the seal apparently changes the math.


It is rare to find this info in food packaging and labels in Brazil. Some products such as mayonnaise and Ketchup warn us to eat till 30 days after open, for example.


Lunch meat never gets eaten after the date unless it’s been frozen but that’s rare for us.

Breads are eaten until signs of mold, never look at the date.

Milk is used until it doesn’t smell quite right.

I’ve never checked a date on eggs.

Since covid we’ve noticed things like bread molding a day or two after coming home even if it’s not close to the date. Same thing with milk, we’ve noticed it going bad days before the expiration date.

My wife stocks up on things when it’s in stock or on sale. This past year she stocked up on diet soda for the RV. We didn’t go out as much as normal so I’ve been drinking diet Mountain Dew and Pespi that’s been 6 months out of date. You can tell a difference but it’s not horrible.


Walnut cheese. I did not separate the curds from whey, I’m letting landfill microflora sort it out.