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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My friend and I got into a discussion about product dating a few days ago. She, on one hand is a "product date nazi". I, on the other hand have only a passing acquaintance with them.

Since I come from a family who has always stocked-piled, canned, & preserved foods, I have studied and researched just how long food would last. The best way to preserve it for long term storage, etc. That is not to say that I have eaten 40 year old food, I think my personal max is 10 years.

I remember a time when food dating was not as prevalent as it is today. I also think product dating is a bit misleading. Not only in it's wording "best if used by" "sell by" etc. But it leads many consumers to believe that the product is going bad ... throw it out and buy some more from us!!!! Which in many cases it not true. Most people don't even realize that the date is NOT required by the USFDA.. It is something put there by the manufacture, so that you will use their product by the peak of it's perfection. The USFDA only requires an expiration date on baby formula and some baby foods and that is more about nutrition. But still better to live by. Only about half of our states have any date regulations regarding perishable foods and those are not consistent from state to state.

Some products are good for many months and even years after the date on them. There have been numerous studies on how long different foods will last. There have been cases where canned food survived almost 100 years with no microbial growth whatsoever. (Steamboat Bertrand) Search the net and you will find a wealth on information on them.

I think a big deciding factor in how long food will last is very dependent on how it is stored... If it is stored in an un-climate controlled garage getting cold and hot with the seasons... it will not last long.

Yes it is best to use a rotation system but sometimes that is not always perfect and there will be things that get missed, or not used fastest enough. But instead of tossing them, use the senses that god gave you, sight, smell and even a small taste if the others senses pass. Expiration dates are intended to inspire confidence, but they only give us a false sense of security. Even if it is "in date" it can be bad if it has been improperly stored or preserved.

You mention "food poisoning". Yes, I have had it .... but it was not because of anything I have stored or preserved.... I got mine from some white queso at a Mexican food restaurant. It was lunch and all I had was queso and chips, I had skipped breakfast. Within the hour I was violently ill. So no question about it, it was the queso.
 

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I pretty much agree with you. Actually, I don't often even look at them, unless it's something I know has somehow been pushed to the back and kept unusually long - we're not talking years, or anything like that. I know that some contaminants don't give any taste or odor clues, but I've lived an awfully lot of years without obsessing about the foods on my shelves, and have eaten plenty of things beyond their dates.

The thing I do watch is sell by dates on meat. If it is at that point I try to cook or freeze it. However, not long ago I forgot about several packages of chicken in the back bottom of the refrigerator. I meant to cook it, didn't get to it then, or the next day and life moved on. A week after I noticed it and cooked it with some misgivings, but it was fine, having been in the coldest part of the fridge. I tend to think our culture is way too germ phobic, and that includes a lot of our attitudes to food use.
 

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You are exactly right! I never paid much attention to expiration dates but when I saw them on gauze I stopped paying attention to them all together. As you unfortunately experienced - we are more likely to get food poisoning from eating out then we are from past due expiration dates. Expiration dates sure are a great, cheat marketing scheme to get the uninformed to blindly throwout perfectly good food and buy more.

The same goes for medicine: Shelf Life of Medicine by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E. - Grandpappy

"Francis Flaherty, a past pharmacist at the FDA states that "Manufacturers put expiration dates on for marketing, rather than scientific, reasons. It's not profitable for them to have products on a shelf for 10 years. They want turnover."
 

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I am a "product date nazi " too. It is what it is and I am how I am. I realize a lot of things are fine but it just doesn't appeal to me to use things after the date on them. However, I do not waste food because I always check dates on everything I buy and I won't buy things that are close to date unless I am using them immediately. I am the middle aged lady you see at the grocery store digging to the back of the shelves looking for the best date. I do stockpile things on sale that we use daily or even weekly but not so much that I have to worry about things going bad. I guess it is one of things everyone should just do what they are comfortable with. It isn't even so much about being worried about getting sick from it....alot of things just don't taste good after the dates.....diet coke is the first thing to come to my mind....yuck!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
TamiDN it is ok to be a date nazi if that is what you are comfortable with... I did not mean to offend.

I agree with you about cola's tasting off after the dates... I drink pepsi and it will taste moldy after it's date. But this doesn't apply to everything. Somethings will be fine, but somethings need to go..... my whole original post was more on the lines of using common sense instead of relying on something that is not regulated and that the seller control. If you don't think that it taste good then your common sense is telling you not to eat it.
 

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I was more concerned than I am now.
2 years past the exp. date is my personal max. And of course it depends on what it is.
Meat 1 yr. only.
Items like dressings unopened 6-8 mo. past.
pasta=til it crumbles or sprouts legs
things w/ grease/fat may make me cautious
 

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I consider expiration dates more of a suggestion than a rule. If the manufacturer thinks it will taste better when it is fresher, well, they may be right. Except for things like milk and raw meat if it is within a few months of the 'use by' date I'm ok with it. Some things, which I have kept in good storage conditions, I'll use a year or more past date.
 

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It depends a little on the kind of date. We are having 2 kinds of dates inhere: a "best before" date, for things like pasta. This is because the government forces the companies to put a date on it. If this is passed date, look if you don't see anything odd or in the case of cans, that they have not risen in volume (this is a serious sign something wrong). If it smells good, looks good and tastes good, go ahead it will be al right. However with "can be kept till" date, which is for things like milk, eggs, yoghurt, meat, cheese... It is advisable to consider the dates. It doesn't have to be off if it is one day over, but it might not advisable eating it a week past the date, especially if you are going to eat it.

For the people with diet coke: I don't assume you could get rust (Ironoxide) from things with it as with ordinary coke?
 

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I consider expiration dates more of a suggestion than a rule. If the manufacturer thinks it will taste better when it is fresher, well, they may be right. Except for things like milk and raw meat if it is within a few months of the 'use by' date I'm ok with it. Some things, which I have kept in good storage conditions, I'll use a year or more past date.
my thoughts exactly - kind of like the "serving suggestion" on the front!!

I just opened a 2yo jar of peanut butter, tastes fine. Been stored in the cellar where it is cool.

My sis is famous for giving us foods she no longer wants, from her vast hoard. Now some of those are no longer edible, like corn chips. You kinda want those to be fresh.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
It depends a little on the kind of date. We are having 2 kinds of dates inhere: a "best before" date, for things like pasta. This is because the government forces the companies to put a date on it. If this is passed date, look if you don't see anything odd or in the case of cans, that they have not risen in volume (this is a serious sign something wrong). If it smells good, looks good and tastes good, go ahead it will be al right. However with "can be kept till" date, which is for things like milk, eggs, yoghurt, meat, cheese... It is advisable to consider the dates. It doesn't have to be off if it is one day over, but it might not advisable eating it a week past the date, especially if you are going to eat it.

For the people with diet coke: I don't assume you could get rust (Ironoxide) from things with it as with ordinary coke?
Avanka I see you are in Belgium... Here in the US our dates are NOT regulated by the government except on baby formula and some baby foods. Those say "expires" and should be followed. Our meat, eggs and dairy are governed my some of our states, but most not. Even these dates are suggestive... I know milk will usually last 7 days past the date and most meats are good 2-3 days past the date. Properly repacked (vacuum sealed) and frozen meat will remain good up to a year if kept consistently frozen.

As to the cola.. I drink mine in plastic bottles because I can't stand the metal taste of cans. When done, I either re-purpose or recycle the bottles. And our colas are packaged in lined aluminum cans... so no not generally rust. Although I do remember a time when our cans were tin (I think) and had a top and bottom section with a seam down the side.... man, I am getting old. LOL
 

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Sorry Krickit, maybe I should have stressed that Im from Belgium, so the laws are different inhere. I just wanted to offer a different point of view :).

For the cola there is an urban myth you can use cola (from coca cola) to get rust from all kind of things, I am not suggesting that the packaging is off. Sorry if Im too confusing, I must have been not completely awake yet this morning.
 
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Sorry Krickit, maybe I should have stressed that Im from Belgium, so the laws are different inhere. I just wanted to offer a different point of view :).

For the cola there is an urban myth you can use cola (from coca cola) to get rust from all kind of things, I am not suggesting that the packaging is off. Sorry if Im too confusing, I must have been not completely awake yet this morning.

I realized you were from Belgium ... and I love diifferent point of views... it is what makes the world interesting

yeah I guess I was kind of confused about the rust.... have to try that sometime.... good tip if it works
 

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Sorry Krickit, maybe I should have stressed that Im from Belgium, so the laws are different inhere. I just wanted to offer a different point of view :).

For the cola there is an urban myth you can use cola (from coca cola) to get rust from all kind of things, I am not suggesting that the packaging is off. Sorry if Im too confusing, I must have been not completely awake yet this morning.
You can also pour Coke over vehicle battery cable to remove the corrosion. Fact.
 

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most canned goods are good for well past the date on the can. I open them and smell of the contents. If it smells good it is safe to eat!
 

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If you get a geyser when the can opener makes the first opening,........mmmmm maybe better throw it out...
 

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I have no problem eating foods past their best before date...within reason, of course! There is a store near me that I watch the expiries and go in the day of or the day before the product's best before date is to see if they'll sell it to me at a discounted price. Their store is understaffed so they don't have time to reduce them with $1 off or $2 off coupons as the Best Before date is approaching. I've got SO much from there for next to nothing or an amazing deal. Literally amazing.

I don't mind eating eggs or yogurt or drinking milk up to a week past its best before date. They're just "suggested dates" to use it by; it's not like the dairy instantly goes back at the strike of midnight. :lol:

I know that canned goods are fine to eat up to 2 to 5 years past the Best Before date as long as the can isn't dented or anything. We'll only eat it up to 2 to 3 years past, but we try our best not to let the date get that old.

Here's a link I found online about "Food Product Dating". I found it helpful... Food Product Dating | USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service

Here is another helpful site about Food Expiration Dates 101... Butter expiration dates - iVillage and Food Expiration Dates 101: Pantry Items and Canned Food - iVillage
 
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