Best before... / expiration dates.

RodeoTex

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I worked at a big vegetable canning plant for a long time. The 'best by' date printed in the can was always just exactly two years out from the canning date.
Not that the contents would be bad, just that would likely start tasting like the can by then.
A survivalist friend once told me he was going to start buying Spam, because 'Spam lasts forever'.
Well, Spam might last forever but the can won't.
 

schmee

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I might eat yogurt at a week over. Really depends on what it is.
Milk is the smell test. The dates are "SELL" by not "use by". As mentioned, how cold is it kept getting it home?
Cheese: I cut off the mold and keep eating.
Does peanut butter ever go bad? We dont refrigerate ours... should we? It looks kinda oily sometimes, but never seems to mold or go bad? Is it self resistant to degradation or something?
 

Flyboy

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If it smells ok, I won't throw it out if it's a week or so out of date or it hasn't turned to mush.

Regarding eggs, I always do the bowl of water test with out of date ones. If they're arse-in-the-air, the get cooked and go out to the wildlife.
 

schmee

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Mrs. Blrfl has, in recent years, bought some of the crystal-carrying, yogurt-eating, Edie-Brickell-listening organic milk. We've been quite surprised to find that it keeps longer in the 'fridge than the regular stuff.
Yeah, there are some things that make you realize organic is actually different! I'm not an organic nut, but buy a few things:
Potatoes: If you bake a non organic and an organic of the same size in the microwave, the organic may take as much as twice the time to be soft. Try it! Potatoes have the most chemicals and poisons in them of any vegetable if not organic. Did you know they use Roundup on the plants?
Milk: As mentioned.
Bananas: An organic banana will last much longer before going bad. It will be much firmer even when it's near getting bad. Pretty surprising really. Try it!
 

bendercaster

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In the US there is no real regulation or meaning behind it--it is all driven by the manufacturers. Best by, use by, best before, etc., are terms they choose to use. The idea behind it is that most food will taste best if it is "fresh," but the terms they use to describe that are pretty arbitrary, ie there is no particular meaning assigned to or required use of any particular term. They are not expiration dates though. And there is no rule that stores can't sell food beyond that date (unless they are in programs like WiC, for example).
 

uriah1

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Growing up it was always cut off the mold from bread or cheese. Mold has good bacteria we were told. Today o don’t care about dates but my wife does. If we lose power for awhile she will trash milk even if still cold.

I do think some value based grocers buy some older product since cheaper. So you have to look at dates I guess
 

Spox

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I have things like rice in my cupboard which was bought from a shop which closed down five years ago and I will eat that rice with no qualms. I also have pasta which is a couple of years out of date and I couldn't care less.

I know that's different to perishables. In the early 90s I lived in a shared flat of reprobates for whom foodstuffs ranked low in the list of priority items to buy. There is a McDonalds across the road from the flat and a nightly trip across to the skip was made by a couple of my flatmates to find their days meal. Scouting parties were sent to raid the skips of a large supermarket and the fridge would be brimming with expired fish and meat. The prize items were things which were just about to expire but they'd been dumped because yogurt or something had spilled all over the packaging, whole chickens etc, they'd be sold to visitors to the flat to fund a bottle of John Barr whisky, happy days.

My last ex is a schoolteacher and told me how one of her colleagues was really into expired food and they could hear his hummus actually fizzing in the staffroom fridge, this is true, I've had hummus go that far gone in my own fridge, you can hear it evolving.

Red onions are my own favourite, you can get a couple of months in the fridge out of them and I firmly believe that when they are right on the cusp of mankiness they develop mystical healing powers. On that note my fridge is down way too low, 1 on the dial, because the freezer keeps icing up even at that setting. I don't even have any food in the freezer, all that is in it are rolls of unshot film and just enough room left for a bag of decaf coffee. I had to defrost it a few weeks ago as it had really iced up so in some kind of twisted logic the rolls of film remain frozen but accesible whilst the perishables in the fridge have to save themselves. Disappointing as I only got that fridgefreezer 1998 or 1999.
 

memorex

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I have some imported Spanish sheep milk cheese here that expires today (6-20-2022). It still tastes great. I have another unopened one and I plan to eat it, too.
 

johnny k

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Waht about those ketchup, mayo ? I threw a bottle of ketchup that i opened 6 or 7 months ago, the label said to keep one month opened at the max. The ketchup didn't look bad or smelled bad.
Mustard basically doesn't expire, but it is not as strong as fresh.
 

Timbresmith1

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Waht about those ketchup, mayo ? I threw a bottle of ketchup that i opened 6 or 7 months ago, the label said to keep one month opened at the max. The ketchup didn't look bad or smelled bad.
Mustard basically doesn't expire, but it is not as strong as fresh.
Ketchup has vinegar. But if you see mold, chuck it.
 

David Barnett

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I'm amazed at how long a loaf of bread or a pack of buns lasts now. When I was a kid if you bought a loaf on Sunday, you'd see mold by Friday, if not sooner. Now I can keep them for weeks. Must be some serious chemicals in there.

But you can't take that for granted with some of the bread from Trader Joe's. Buy a pack of pita there and the cashier will warn you to use it quickly or it'll mold.
 

Milspec

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I used to work in a local ER back in college and just about every single case of food poisoning that came in, they always knew exactly what it was that did it. Even funnier is that they knew something was wrong, but finished it anyway.

If you have ever suffered with a bad bout of salmonella or botulism, you would never take chances again. I was hospitalized with salmonella from a Cliff energy bar of all things that was expired and likely had a pin hole in the packaging. The first night, I puked 52 times before passing out on the bathroom floor.

So, should you throw it out? How much do you like puking? Is it really worth saving a couple of bucks?

I take no risks, I try not to eat anything that I didn't personally have control of making...and nothing smothered in a sauce. You can hide a lot of really poor quality meats in heavy sauces.
 

Milspec

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I might eat yogurt at a week over. Really depends on what it is.
Milk is the smell test. The dates are "SELL" by not "use by". As mentioned, how cold is it kept getting it home?
Cheese: I cut off the mold and keep eating.
Does peanut butter ever go bad? We dont refrigerate ours... should we? It looks kinda oily sometimes, but never seems to mold or go bad? Is it self resistant to degradation or something?
PB will last a LONG time as long as you use a clean knife to draw some out. People who double dip are tempting fate.

That said, they just had a recall that involved Jiff and several other brands for contamination. I already ate half a jar when I found out and drew the short straw as I was ill for a week after.
 

flathd

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I found a 1 gallon jug of BBQ sauce in my Mom's pantry. It is unopened and sealed on top, and the best by date is 2011. Does BBQ sauce spoil after 11 years? It's called Smokehouse 220.

Update: My nephew called the BBQ company and they said it might be ok, but then recommended throwing it out.
 
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Si G X

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I might eat yogurt at a week over. Really depends on what it is.
Milk is the smell test. The dates are "SELL" by not "use by". As mentioned, how cold is it kept getting it home?
Cheese: I cut off the mold and keep eating.
Does peanut butter ever go bad? We dont refrigerate ours... should we? It looks kinda oily sometimes, but never seems to mold or go bad? Is it self resistant to degradation or something?

I've never experienced peanut butter going bad, it's too oily I think. Like if you put something in a bottle of oil the oil stops air and bacteria getting to it. Peanuts don't really go bad either, they just go a bit soft and stale.. which the oil will probably stop happening too. I don't believe there's any need to put it in the fridge, it's basically just peanuts, vegetable oil and salt ... I don't put peanuts, salt or vegetable oil in the fridge. If it starts separating I expect it has even less chance because the oil on top will protect what's underneath.
 

Tmcqtele65

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For the information to be useful to me - I need several more levels of variation on these posted dates. In addition to "Best by" I'd like to see "Still good by", "OK by", "YMMV after" and that ever important "It's all on you after"
 




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