Expiration Dates Are A Sham, Here's The Real Proof You Need To Know If Food's Gone Bad
Kathleen Shipman 8/29/2016
Everyone pays close attention to the ‘sell by' dates when they're picking out food items, but it turns out those dates carry no true meaning at all. I wish I'd known this sooner.
When we go to the store, it is safe to say that we all trust the expiration dates on the food that we buy. We trust them so much, that we often throw a product out right away, as soon as we discovered that it expired, even if it has only been a day or two. Yet, how do we know those dates are 100% accurate? In other words, this means that all of the food that we have thrown out because we thought it was bad, perhaps maybe it wasn't bad and we just threw away our hard earned money instead.
According to the National Resource Defense Council, the sell-by dates you see on food products are not reliable when determining whether or not your food is no longer safe to eat. Expiration dates are simply there just to let us know when our food will not be at its optimal peak of freshness anymore. However, with that being said, that does not mean that the food is no longer safe to eat after it passes that date printed on your product.
If you have ever questioned the following products, as to whether or not they were still safe to eat past their expiration dates, read on to safeguard your family in the future.
Eggs- There is an old trick you can do with eggs to determine whether or not they are still safe to eat for you and your family. Take a bowl of cold water and place the eggs in them. If an egg is still good it will sink. If the eggs are bad, they will float. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, sacs of air will start getting trapped inside an egg as the egg ages thus causing it to float if it has gone bad.
Cheese- Cheese is supposed to smell like cheese, not milk, so if your cheese smells like how your milk does, throw it away. Since there are typically two types of cheese, hard and soft, know that soft cheese is more likely to spoil quicker than hard cheese. If you spot even a speck of mold anywhere within your soft cheese container, throw the whole container away as it has already been contaminated. However, if you spot a speck of mold on your hard cheese, it is okay to just cut off the molded piece, as the rest of it is still safe to eat.
Milk- This one is pretty cut and dry. If your milk has lumps in it, know that this is not normal. Any sour smells coming from inside the milk bottle is another indication, as well as any discoloration. All of these signs mean that bacteria has already started forming in the milk.
Bread- Although you think that just throwing away that one moldy piece instead of the whole loaf is safe, sadly it is the opposite. Once you spot even a fragment of mold on one slice of bread, there could be tiny invisible mold spores already growing on other slices that you can't see with the naked eye. If one slice is moldy, your loaf is doomed. Throw it out to keep you and your family safe from eating moldy bread.
Uncooked Meat- Often times we all mix this one up. We throw uncooked meat away because we get scared when it changes color. The color however, according to the USDA, is not what should red flag you. It is if the meat suddenly has a foul odor, or if you feel it is sticky or slimy, then that means it is the best time to throw it away as it is now no longer safe to eat.
Deli Meat- Follow your nose with this one as a foul odor means that bacteria has probably already started growing and spreading inside according to EatByDate. Also, if you notice that your deli meat is slightly slimier than normal, that's another sign that you should throw it away.
Uncooked Seafood- Although your fish once slipped around in the ocean water, it is not supposed to do that in your refrigerator. If your uncooked fish is sliding around, slimy, or slippery, it is time to throw it out. Also, we all know that fish is supposed to smell fishy, but there is something as too fishy. If you notice your fish is smelling up your whole refrigerator, throw it out.
Fresh Vegetables- Have you ever bought fresh broccoli, were about to make a nice dinner for you and your family, only to have your husband call during the late afternoon to tell you to order a pizza because he will have to work late that night? Then you save the dinner you were supposed to make for the next night, and then suddenly three days passed? Now you go to actually make the dinner you were supposed to make a few days ago, this time, only to find your broccoli is looking more yellow than green now. Well that is your sign to throw out your fresh vegetables.
Fresh Fruit- You know what fresh fruit looks like. It is crisp, clean, succulent, and very colorfully appealing to the eye. So when your fruit takes a dive and goes to mushyville, and starts changing colors on you (it is not supposed to do that), then it is time to throw it away. Always remember to use your nose when determining if food has gone bad. If you smell a foul odor on anything, it is safer just to throw it out.
Olive Oil- Award-winning Chef Marcus Samuelsson, wrote on his website about how you know if olive oil is still fresh.
"Good olive oil should smell fragrant and fruity and taste like the olives it was made from."
If your olive oil suddenly has a thicker paste that looks like it belongs in a car engine than in your saucepan, throw it away.
Watch this video to better understand why expiration dates are a sham.
Expiration dates should not be taken literally as our senses are the best judge in determining whether or not a food should be eaten or thrown out. Trust your senses, let them guide you, and just think of expiration dates as a ballpark idea that is not concrete.