According to Dr. James Jay, a food biologist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, most foods can be safely eaten beyond the expiration date without making a person sick. The exceptions to this are meats, poultry, fresh foods that are perishable and infant formula, which is regulated by the government.Continue Reading
Dr. Jay claims that the general public misunderstands expiration dates. Food expiration dates are not about health safety. Instead, these dates help food manufacturers provide consumers with the best quality products.
Food producers and manufacturers are highly concerned over the quality of their product, but this has more to do with appearance and flavor than safety. According to Dan Charles of NPR, the use-by date indicates the level of deterioration of the food item as it pertains to taste and coloring, and the sell-by date exists to alert grocery stores when to clear a product off the shelves to prevent consumers from purchasing food that has lost some quality. Companies figure that consumers are less likely to buy products when they are not at their very best.
According to the Huffington Post, food becomes a health risk when dangerous bacteria contaminates it at some point during processing. This is why food that has not expired can still cause people to get sick. It is the bacteria that is the real culprit, which has nothing to do with expiration dates.Learn more about Food Spoilage
Feta cheese only lasts about a week after its printed expiration date in the refrigerator, and it does not freeze well, although it can be frozen for up to 6 months. Feta is a semi-soft cheese, which doesn't last as long as other cheeses.Full Answer >
An unopened packet of ketchup is OK to use for one to two years after the expiration date printed on the packet. Expiration information is labeled as a "best by" or "use by" date.Full Answer >
The printed expiration date on milk is really just a sell by date, and milk is usually still good for a few days after that. Milk should last up to 7 days past the sell-by date if properly refrigerated.Full Answer >
A box of prepackaged cake mix, which usually has a "best before" date rather than an expiration date, can usually be used for up to 5 months past the box's printed date. This is contingent on the box being unopened and kept in a cool, dry place, such as a kitchen pantry.Full Answer >