Expiration Dates

Ever wonder what the grocery stocker was doing taking cans or boxes of food off the shelf, replacing them with like food out of a cardboard shipping carton and then putting the original cans/boxes back on the shelf? Have you ever wondered how the grocery store can sell bins of some items at such low prices? Have you cleaned out the pantry, looked at the dates on the items and wondered if the contents were safe to eat? Check the Best By or Sell By dates on grocery items and you may get an answer to these questions.

These ‘Expiration Dates’ are not magical dates that the food suddenly goes bad. These ‘buy by’ or ‘sell by’ dates are simply guideline dates for peak freshness of the food items. Canned/boxed food has been shown to stay good far past these expiration dates. But remember, most food will eventually  go bad. Here are some things that will tell you it may not be safe to consume food items.

  • If the can or lid is bulging, the contents are probably not safe to eat.
  • If you open the can and excess pressure is released, do not consume the contents.
  • If the seal is broken, the contents may have been compromised. Do not use.
  • If the can shows any sign of corrosion, discard the can and contents.
  • If the contents are leaking from the can or its seal, do not use remaining contents.
  • If the contents looks bad, cloudy, moldy or if you have any reservations about the contents, discard it.
  • If you open the can and the smell is ‘off’ or could gag a maggot, do not use the contents.
  • If you find any insects, insect parts or excrement, webbing, larva, etc. in dry foods, discard it.

If you hate to see the food go to waste, consider adding it to your compost pile or feed it to livestock if you feel it’s safe for that.

Keep your fork

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