I’m all for saving money and not wasting anything! There are so many people, right here in America, that are going to bed hungry tonight. I’ve noticed a lot more “discount food stores” popping up around my hometown. Many of my friends shop at these places. Is it really safe to eat these cereals, canned items, and noodles that have expired in the last month or two?
Different Types of Expiration Dates:
What the expiration date really means can differ. For instance, if it is a ‘sell by’ expiration date, that simply means that the store will throw it out after that date to ensure freshness. If the expiration date is, “best before” that means it is going to taste better if used by that date. On the other hand, if the expiration date is a ‘use by’ date, that means that the product will go bad and may be unsafe to eat.
Can You Get Food Poisoning?
Is it possible to get food poisoning from eating an expired food? Most definitely. Some foods may just taste stale, but other foods can cause sickness or even death in some cases. Web MD gives says that meats like fish and poultry should be cooked or frozen within a day or two, beef or pork should be cooked or frozen within three to five days, milk is usually okay for a week after the “sell by” date, and eggs are normally okay to eat for three to five weeks after the “sell by” date. I personally would never eat any meat, dairy, or eggs that were expired.
Many of the discount food stores sell mainly canned food items, boxes of noodles, cereals, and sometimes even vitamins that are recently expired for a heavy discount. According to Web MD, low acid canned foods like green beans, can be good for up to five years, while a high acid food like tomato sauce may hold for only 18 months. The problem I have with eating these foods, is that you have no idea how they have been stored since leaving supermarket shelves. Storing items in a hot warehouse can cause them to spoil faster. Medications and vitamins really aren’t safe at all after the expiration date, because their components break down over time. This can cause them to be either more potent or ineffective altogether.
Savings or Safety?
Many people insist that there is no danger in eating foods that have passed the expiration date. I disagree. I do a lot of home gardening and canning of my produce. Even ‘old timers’ knew that eating canned foods after a certain period of time was risky. Mold can grow, bacteria can flourish if the item is improperly stored, and if the poisoning is serious enough; it can kill you. Personally, saving fifty cents on a can of green beans doesn’t interest me if I have to worry about being poisoned. If I have to choose between safety and savings, I’m going to go with safety every single time.
One of the best things you can do to ensure food safety and quality is to invest in a really good vacuum sealer. Freezing foods in absolutely airtight conditions, keeps them safe for consumption for indefinite periods of time. Also, a sealing vacuum will save you a ton of money by keeping produce, cheeses, and bagged items fresh longer.
More from Carrie:
Shocking Myths About Food Safety That Can Cost Your Life
Lose Weight By Changing the Way You Eat: Simple But True
Three Things I’ll Gladly Pay More For: Dangerous Deals