When you read labels either at home or at the grocery store you probably pay close attention to the expiration dates because you don’t want to consume anything that can be harmful to you.
Basically, the expiration dates lets customers know when the food product is at peak quality and freshness. But eating food before the sell-by date is not exactly a hard-and-fast rule.
Keeping an eye on the use-by date is important, but you don’t have to discard your food. While it obviously depends on the food item and how much time has elapsed since the expiration date, in some cases, you can still eat food a few days past its use-by date. Doing this is healthy and can also help minimize food waste and spending.
If you are wondering whether you should toss that cereal or biscuits, here are 4 foods that are usually OK to eat past their sell-by dates.
As a general rule of thumb, the more refined and processed a food is, the longer you can keep it past the expiration date. This principle aptly applies to canned foods as well, provided they have been stored in a cool, dark area to minimize decay.
With that being said, it is important you watch out for signs of spoilage, which you’ll notice either on the exterior of the can or upon opening it. A bulging top or bottom, a leaky seal, dents, or rust on the can itself are usually a sign that you need to throw it out.
Furthermore, you should also take a good look at what’s inside the can. The signs of botulism are a bubbling and frothy texture at the top of the can that you don’t want to taste, because it is not only unhealthy but also poisonous.
Dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and cheese are usually safe until signs of spoilage are evident. In the case of milk, this can be up to five days past the sell-by date, while cheese (especially hard cheese) can last for a little bit longer.
This however doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t check for signs of spoilage. The signs may include bad odour or clumpy or chunky consistency.
Cereals And Other Grains
According to food and drug regulatory agencies, it is usually OK to eat cereal, pasta, or cookies past the expiration date, even though they might taste slightly more stale.
If your cereals or Grains emanates a strong odour, however, or there are bites or tears in the package, that could indicate rodent contamination, it is best for you to immediately discard or toss the package.
Frozen Fruits And Vegetables
For the most part, it’s totally healthy to eat frozen fruits and vegetables past their expiration date, even if they have freezer burn. The freezer burn might actually affect the taste of the item, but it’ll likely still be safe to eat.
With that being said, try your best not to defrost an item and refreeze it. Doing so is potentially hazardous as you may just be harbouring bacteria.