How long past 'use by date' is food flavorful, quality OK, safe..and I don't mean fresh items...Canned ...packaged.. baking mixes...... . ??? Leslie B in Oregon
As I'm sure you probably guessed...the use by date on the package of the product isn't always the exact day that you need to throw something out. Most of the time, a product is good for days, weeks, or even a year after that date! It all depends on the product. Here are a few tips on when you actually need to throw something out!
Dairy Products: These go bad the fastest. Sour cream, milk, cream cheese, ect. You can easily tell when the product is no longer usable by just checking how it smells and if there is any visible mold. The expiration date does not apply to dairy products that are frozen because they will be good for much longer. You can find a list of how long things last in the freezer here.
Canned Foods: Canned foods can last a good year after the expiration date. The things to watch for are a bulging cans, any discoloring around the rims of the can, or any funny smells. Tomato products may not last quite as long because of the acidity.
Cereals and Crackers: These will only last a couple months after the expiration date before they start to get soggy and lose their flavor. A quick bite into a cracker will tell you if it's still ok!
Boxed Mixes: As long as these have been kept in a good dry location they should be good for at least 6 months after the expiration date on the package.
If you are looking for the shelf life on a specific product you should check out this neat Shelf Life Database!
And for more info....if you ever wanted to know what month to buy something in and how much to stock up on certain months, check out this article on How to Stock Up. Also if you plan on buying these expired products in a surplus or discount grocery store you will want to check out this article on How to Shop at a Discount Grocery Store.
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