All of this got me a-thinkin: when does food really expire? Of course there are "expires by" and "sell by" dates but when is the real "throw-this-in-the-garbage-immediately!" date?
Here is what I found as per About.com
- Milk. Usually fine until a week after the "Sell By" date.
- Eggs. OK for 3-5 weeks after you bring them home (assuming you bought them before the "sell by" date). VanLandingham says double-grade As will go down a grade in a week but still be perfectly edible.
- Poultry and seafood. Cook or freeze this within a day or two.
- Beef and pork. Cook or freeze within three to five days.
- Canned goods. Highly acidic foods like tomato sauce can keep 18 months or more. Low-acid foods like canned green beans are probably risk-free for up to five years. "You do not want to put cans in a hot place like a crawl space or garage," Peggy VanLaanen, EdD, RD, a professor of food and nutrition at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, tells WebMD. She suggests keeping canned and dry food at 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit in a dry, dark place. Humidity can be a factor in speeded-up deterioration. The FDA notes that taste, aroma, and appearance of food can change rapidly if the air conditioning fails in a home or warehouse. Obviously, cans bulging with bacteria growth should be discarded, no matter what the expiration date!
One great source to answer questions about expiration dates and shelf life is the website StillTasty.com. If you are curious how long food really last after the expiration date you can just visit the home page, type in the food that you are pondering about and not only will they cover any food that is relative to what you are asking but then you get a breakdown of how long the food will last in the fridge or in the freezer and tips how to make it last longer. Pretty cool huh?
StillTasty also helps to answer questions such as these:
All really good questions, especially for us moms who want to make sure that we don't make our children sick. I must say that after finding these sites I do feel a lot better about being so particular and picky!
*See mom, even though eggs might last for about a month you still gotta check the dates!*