Ignore Expiration Dates

Ignore Expiration Dates

"Best by," "Sell by," and all those other labels mean very little.

By Nadia Arumugam

Updated Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010, at 10:18 AM ET


Expiration dates mean very little. There’s a filet mignon in my fridge that expired four days ago, but it seems OK to me. I take a hesitant whiff and detect
no putrid odor of rotting flesh, no oozing, fetid cow juice—just the full-bodied aroma of well-aged meat. A feast for one; I retrieve my frying pan. This is not an isolated experiment or a sad symptom of my radical frugality. With a spirit of teenage rebellion, I disavow any regard for expiration dates.
The fact is that expiration dates mean very little. Food starts to deteriorate from the moment it’s harvested, butchered, or processed, but the rate at which it spoils depends less on time than on the conditions under which it’s stored. Moisture and warmth are especially detrimental. A package of ground meat, say, will stay fresher longer if placed near the coldest part of a refrigerator (below 40 degrees Fahrenheit), than next to the heat-emitting light bulb. Besides, as University of Minnesota food scientist Ted Labuza explained to me, expiration dates address quality—optimum freshness—rather than safety and are extremely conservative. To account for all manner of consumer, manufacturers imagine how the laziest people with the most undesirable kitchens might store and handle their food, then test their products based on these criteria.
With perishables like milk and meat, most responsible consumers (those who refrigerate their groceries as soon as they get home, for instance) have a three–to-seven-day grace period after the "Sell by" date has elapsed. As for pre-packaged greens, studies show that nutrient loss in vegetables is linked to a decline in appearance. When your broccoli florets yellow or your green beans shrivel, this signals a depletion of vitamins. But if they haven’t lost their looks, ignore the printed date. Pasta and rice will taste fine for a year. Unopened packs of cookies are edible for months before the fat oxidizes and they turn rancid. Pancake and cake mixes have at least six months. Canned items are potentially the safest foods around and will keep five years or more if stored in a cold pantry. Labuza recalls a seven-year-old can of chicken chunks he ate recently. "It tasted just like chicken," he said.
I would like to share this interesting article found on the net about food expiration dates with my students. With respect to the author of this article, this piece of article is taken on 19th February 2010 from http://www.slate.com/id/2244249?yahoo=y written by Nadia Arumugam
本篇發表於 S6。將永久鏈結加入書籤。

3 Responses to Ignore Expiration Dates

  1. Kam Fai 說道:

    Remembered that the taste of rotting meat Zhen Exin should be very stinky, right? Terrorist us so happy will not necessarily smell or eat rotten, or after a shelf life of food bar

  2. Ngo Yin 說道:

    normally,I won\’t look at the expiry date.But my mum will through away the food which has bought for 2 days or above,so I need not to worry about the quality of food.However,I do agree that the expiry date is very important because people may get diseases if they don\’t care about it.So ,I strongly recommend all of you do look at the expiry date before having it!

  3. kairi 說道:

    haha~ I dont like the smell of rotten meat really. it does terrify me alot. the thing is that i dont check the expiry dates on food packages. I dont usually check my fridge unless i smell something funny. Last time, when i was cleaning my fridge, I found a pack of chocolate with an expiry date of 2006! I was like … … hehe!



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