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Millions of tonnes of food that is still edible are thrown away every year in the US. Some of this waste could be avoided if we knew how to identify expired food that can still be eaten without risk to our health.
In general, dry food can easily be consumed after the expiry date on the packaging – sometimes much later. Especially because the date after the ‘best before’ date is the date of minimum durability. Nothing prevents consumption after this date. Provided the packaging is not damaged. A bulging can – even before the best-before date – can be a sign of bacterial contamination.
Long shelf life: honey, spices, pasta, rice, etc.
Canned foods, and especially dry foods, can last a long time.
Honey – like sugar – can be stored forever. It is an extremely stable food. Although it can change – liquid to solid or vice versa – it is still safe to eat.
The same goes for spices. At worst, you risk losing their flavor.
Canned foods or products such as pasta or rice can be stored for several years after the use-by date without any problems. Provided the storage conditions were good.
The same applies to freeze-dried products such as packaged soups and dry biscuits.
Oils can be used after the best-before date. Although they may acquire an unpleasant taste or smell, they do not pose a health risk.
Chocolate, frozen foods, milk, and yogurts
Chocolate can also be consumed up to two years after the expiry date. This is especially true for handmade chocolate with little added fat. As soon as a white coating starts to form on the surface of the chocolate, the chocolate starts to lose its flavor. This does not mean that it is dangerous to your health.
As long as the cold chain is not broken, frozen products can be consumed several months after the expiry date. The only risk is that they may lose their flavor.
Yogurts can generally be consumed without risk up to three weeks after the date on the packaging assuming that they have been kept refrigerated.
And ultra-pasteurized milk (UHT milk). It is pasteurized and can therefore be drunk up to two months after the best-before date. It may just have lost some of the vitamins and minerals and might become slightly sour.
what happens to the rest of the food?
As far as eggs are concerned, as long as the shell is not damaged and has not been washed, as this makes the shell porous, they can be consumed up to 4 weeks after the use-by date. However, you must be sure, otherwise, there is a risk of bacterial infection. To check, immerse the eggs in cold water. If they sink to the bottom, they are still edible.
For other products, such as frozen meat products, meat, fish, and ready meals, it is best to observe the best to avoid any gastric unpleasantness.