Foods You Can Eat After The Expiration Date And Some That You Can't

Posted by Editorial Staff in Food On 29th July 2017

You find a box of crackers in your pantry that's past its best before date — do you eat it? While in many cases, expiry dates are important indicators of how safe the food is to consume, but with some foods it's more of a guideline. Here are some foods that are likely good to eat past the expiration date.

#1 Expired Food

You open the fridge, drag out the cottage cheese, check for fur, and if there isn't any, you say, "Honey? Will you sniff this?" This is not, however, the approved method of checking for freshness. The approved way lies in a voluntary system of labeling.

Yes, voluntary. The only items required by federal law to be labeled for expiration are infant formula and some baby foods; some states also mandate pulling dairy from store shelves on the expiration date.

#2 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!

#3 Cheese

If you think about how cheese is made and aged, you might be more apt to believe it's the kind of food that doesn't always go bad after its expiration date. Even if there is a little mold growing, consuming "expired" cheese is perfectly safe — as long as you cut off the mold. Don't let your precious cheddar go to waste ever again.

#4 Chocolate, rice, pasta and lentils

These foods are all edible years after the expiration date. As they are dry foods, there is no risk of mold. Chocolate is still good two years after the expiration date.

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