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When it's safe to keep food beyond the expiration date

Don't Throw That Food Out

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Expiration dates cause millions of pounds of food to be wasted every year. But you should know, the sell-by date doesn’t always mean the food is bad, it can sometimes mean it’s just not as fresh. For instance, eating hard cheeses like cheddar is considered perfectly safe after the date as long as you cut off the mold. Here are some other things that are safe after the label said they’ve expired.

Believe it or not, eggs are still good to eat long after the sell-by date. But give it the “float test” if you’re still not sure. Put it in a glass of cold water. If it sinks to the bottom, it’s still fresh. But if it floats to the top it means bacteria has produced too much gas inside and it’s probably unsafe.

Lettuce is okay to eat if it’s wilting, just not decaying. As long as it’s not getting slimy you can soak it in ice water for ten minutes to freshen it up.

Just like hard cheeses, yogurt is another dairy product you can eat after its package labeled it "expired." Open yogurt will spoil sooner, but sealed yogurt will usually last one to two weeks past the sell-by date.

Among the foods you should never eat past the expiration date: raw, unpasteurized juices which are prone to bacterial contamination. Fresh strawberries and raspberries, which can carry a parasite called cyclospora and deli meat and soft cheeses like brie because they can both carry listeria, a type of bacteria that grows even in cold temperatures.

Many condiments, including salad dressing, are consumable after their sell-by dates. If they're open, give them the sniff test to see if they have spoiled. But if they've never been unsealed, condiments can be stored for a long time. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have even put together a “periodic table of condiments” you can search for online that breaks it down for you.


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