You Can Still Eat Some Expired Food

Before you use any food item in your home you typically check the expiration date or use by date to make sure that it is still good.  Many of us do this when we go to the store to make sure we get items that will last as long as possible in case we do not use it right away. Now experts are saying we do not need to pay as close attention to that date as we once thought that we did.

Americans throw out a lot of food every year.  About 40 percent of the nation’s food supply, or if you want to think in terms of numbers about $160 billion dollars’ worth of food is thrown out each year because it has reached or passed its expiration, or use by date.  This has to do with a misconception of when the food actually goes bad.

Most people think that when food reaches the used by or expiration date that the food is no longer good and that if you were to eat it you could get sick.  The truth of the matter is that most food-borne illnesses and contamination of food happens during production and processing, not after the food has gone bad.  What this means is that if the food is going to be contaminated, it will be contaminated before it even reaches your home.

That is not the only misconception about food.  As it turns out most Americans believe that the Federal Food and Drug Administration regulate the labels that the manufacturers put on the food items.  This is not true.  The only labels that the FDA regulates are the labels for baby formula.  So when you are looking at the expiration date on a label remember that the FDA does not have guidelines for when food should be considered bad.

This leaves many asking so how do they know when it is bad?  The first thing that you do is look the food over.  Is there mold on it?  If not then it has passed the first step.  Does it smell as though it has gone bad?  If not then it has passed the next step.  If you want a longer shelf life out of your food you must control the temperature that it is at.  All food has a temperature that you are supposed to keep it at for ideal freshness and lasting quality.

Above all common sense should be used.  If you think something is bad then do not eat it.  If it seems perfectly fine, there is a good chance that it is.  Food does not need to be tossed out the day that it goes bad; this is wasting food, and wasting money.  If you have a food item that is getting close to going bad, use it up before it does, but know if it is a few days past the use by date you still have a good chance that it will still be good.