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Author Topic: Food expiration dates  (Read 2300 times)

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redcat

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Food expiration dates
« on: May 23, 2013, 04:18:44 PM »
When you buy fresh food, eg meat or veg, how long from buying it do you expect it to last?  I went shopping yesterday, and almost all the meat I bought had a use by date of tomorrow.  I just felt 2 days isn't very long, but there were no packs with a longer shelf life on the shelves.  So I've ended up putting a lot of the stuff I bought in the freezer.

On a related note, are you happy to buy items that have a use buy date of today, if it is is on sale at a reduced price?  And how close does the use by date have to be, before you won't pay full price at all.  I wanted to buy some radishes yesterday, but all the bags on the shelf had use by date of yesterday, and were still at full price.  I'm not going to buy stuff at full price with such a short shelf life, even if I think I'm going to use it all, which yesterday, I didn't.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Food expiration dates
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2013, 04:25:13 PM »
For meat, if I'm going to cook it thoroughly, I'll let it go a couple of days beyond the best before date.  But unless it is a fantastic special, I won't buy it unless the date is at least a couple of days out.  I think they only give ground beef a couple of days, anyway.

If I'm buying steaks that I won't cook quite so thoroughly, I want them within date when I cook them.  If I'm not going to cook them in the next day or two, I through them in the freezer.

I don't buy a lot of bagged veggies but if I do, I definitely look for the dates to be a few days out.  If I don't think I can use it by the date, I don't buy it.
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
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Katana_Geldar

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Re: Food expiration dates
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2013, 05:37:44 PM »
Use by date is different from a Best Before date. Use By date you do need to be careful but Best Before gives you lee way. I've kept a rural yoghurt a week after best before date. And some things, like Vegemite, never go off.

Thipu1

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Re: Food expiration dates
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2013, 06:11:03 PM »
Use by date is different from a Best Before date. Use By date you do need to be careful but Best Before gives you lee way. I've kept a rural yoghurt a week after best before date. And some things, like Vegemite, never go off.

We keep eggs well after the Use By date.  If you're baking a cake you want them really fresh.  If you're making scrambled eggs or using them in a breading, old eggs are perfectly fine. 

We've also found that yogurt can be very good several weeks after the Use By date. 

Slartibartfast

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Re: Food expiration dates
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2013, 06:12:15 PM »
Depends a lot on the food - the date is sometimes a "often spoils by" date, but other times it's the earliest date you're likely to notice any taste or texture difference.  Canned vegetables may taste a bit more metallic as they get older, for example.  Sometimes when it's a "sell by" date, it's really a guidance for the store, and you can get along with eating things much later.

Some foods I don't care - lunch meat, cheese, etc. - because you can tell when they're bad.  Other foods I'm a lot more careful with, because you can't always see/smell if they're bad before you use them.

katycoo

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Re: Food expiration dates
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2013, 07:25:58 PM »
I freeze all meat anyway because my plans invariably change.  So yes I'll buy meat on or just before its use by.

Rohanna

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Re: Food expiration dates
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2013, 09:09:14 PM »
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. ~ Jack Layton.

ladyknight1

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Re: Food expiration dates
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2013, 09:19:06 PM »
I buy ground beef at our warehouse club, and the sell by date is always the next day, because they grind it fresh each morning and throw out any left when they grind the next morning. I will buy specially marked down meat if I can cook it that day and we can use it.

Half & half and cream I can use 2-4 weeks after the date on the carton. Milk never lasts until the expiration.
“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
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artk2002

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Re: Food expiration dates
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2013, 09:31:15 PM »
I buy ground beef at our warehouse club, and the sell by date is always the next day, because they grind it fresh each morning and throw out any left when they grind the next morning. I will buy specially marked down meat if I can cook it that day and we can use it.

Half & half and cream I can use 2-4 weeks after the date on the carton. Milk never lasts until the expiration.

That points out that there's a difference between sell-by, use-by and best-by.

Part of my work concerns the food and pharma supply chains. Picking expiration dates (of any kind) is a big challenge. The idea is to pick a date far enough out so that the product can actually be used, but not so far out that someone gets hurt by it. In general, they err on the safe side. The dates are chosen assuming the product will be handled in an average manner -- if the stuff you're buying has been better cared for (like put in the cooler quickly, rather than sitting on the loading dock for hours), the actual life span of the product may be much longer.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

StarFaerie

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Re: Food expiration dates
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2013, 09:35:34 PM »
Use by date is different from a Best Before date. Use By date you do need to be careful but Best Before gives you lee way. I've kept a rural yoghurt a week after best before date. And some things, like Vegemite, never go off.

Vegemite may not go off but it definitely changes in taste past its best before. Old vegemite is much more yeasty tasting than fresh vegemite. Still yummy though even many years past.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Food expiration dates
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2013, 08:23:01 AM »
I use those dates as sort of a guide. I will, and have, bought meat on "manager's special" usually the sell by date is that day, knowing i will use some that day, and freeze the rest.  I've used half and half well beyond the date on the carton; to me, when it curdles in your coffee, its not good anymore.

Other stuff I kind of play by ear. Yogurt, I've eaten up to a week past the date on teh container.  and so on. So far I haven't poisened myself yet!

afbluebelle

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Re: Food expiration dates
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2013, 08:24:17 AM »
I go by the sniff test... if it smells like death, I don't eat it :P
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magicdomino

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Re: Food expiration dates
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2013, 10:22:45 AM »
I've bought the manager's special meats; in fact I look for them.  If I can't cook them that day, I pop them in the freezer with a note saying "No Exp."  That reminds me later that the meat must be cooked as soon as it thaws, if not sooner.

I've routinely eat yogurt up to a month after the expiration date.  Techinically, it is already spoiled, it just gets a little more sour. 

Luci

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Re: Food expiration dates
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2013, 04:03:16 PM »
I am so glad to read about all who ignore, or take with a grain of salt, the expiration dates. I had the impression that most people followed them to the number!

I am of the "if you can't tell it's bad, it isn't" generation.

I once ate 6 months expired yogurt (I didn't notice until I was rinsing for recycling), and was fine. Jelly gets crystals, but if not moldey, it's OK. If meat doesn't have a bad odor, it's fine, too. A lot of times, with the almost airtight packaging, it can go a week. Condiments keep forever and get a acidy or smutty smell when they are too far gone to use. Slighty wilted produce can be perked up in cold water. We've never gotten ill. Medicine has to have a one year notice on it by law, but I don't bother for some for two years, but I do toss antibiotic salve. I question the efficacy, and that is something I won't mess with. Pain killers seem to last forever.

Of course, for guests, I never serve out of date stuff just in case they notice and care.

jpcher

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Re: Food expiration dates
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2013, 06:13:19 PM »
I just felt 2 days isn't very long, but there were no packs with a longer shelf life on the shelves.  So I've ended up putting a lot of the stuff I bought in the freezer.

For meats, the freezer is my friend.;D

I'll buy a week's worth of meat (no matter the expiration date) and cook one meal tonight, keep another batch of meat in the fridge for tomorrow's meal, and freeze everything else.

There have been so many times where meal plans have been interrupted/changed. If I don't freeze the chicken breasts and they sit in the fridge for 4 days, then it turns into a must cook now or else toss.

Four days is my limit for any meats in the fridge. Even then, I'm doing the "sniff test" ala afbluebelle.

I'll take meat out of the freezer the night before I plan on using it and put it in my fridge to thaw.

I wanted to buy some radishes yesterday, but all the bags on the shelf had use by date of yesterday, and were still at full price.  I'm not going to buy stuff at full price with such a short shelf life, even if I think I'm going to use it all, which yesterday, I didn't.

If you weren't going to use them yesterday and they were 1/2 price, would you have bought them? Even though the use-by date was the date you shopped? Just curious about your logic behind this . . . The radishes still have the same shelf life, full price or not.

Seriously, not being snarky, I don't understand why you wouldn't buy produce at full price, but would at 1/2 price if the quality doesn't meet your standards?

I'm betting that if you go in tomorrow, all the radishes would be replaced with fresher packages.

I'm very hesitant to purchase produce (like strawberries) that's marked "ON SALE! Buy now!" because it gives me the impression that the store bought too much and will take a loss on rotted produce.