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Old 03-03-2008, 06:20 PM
 
Location: The 12th State
22,974 posts, read 57,213,700 times
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How true are expiration dates.
Is it a sytem formula?
Or does food really go bad the day after?

From milk, meat to cheese to OJ how do they know?

I notice milk has a sell by date; what is difference than that and a expiration date? How many days can I really drink it?

If I freeze something does it prolong it's life and how much longer does it last after I thaw it out?

Thanks for your insight.
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:54 AM
 
4,899 posts, read 16,246,067 times
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i dont know the official rules but if i see:

sell by date: i use it for 3 days afterward
experation date: for me that means you cant eat it anymore
freezing--good for 6 months after ( i saw this on a turkey so that is my rule)

like i said these are just my own ideas that i picked up growing up etc...
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Old 03-04-2008, 06:15 AM
MB2
 
Location: Sebastian/ FL
3,496 posts, read 8,562,567 times
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That is something I am scratching my head about sometimes...lol.
"Sell by" means up to the day, it has to be sold, the "day of" pulled from the shelves and discarded.
"Expiration date" means the "day the product will deteriorate and die".
It's merely a guideline, because how does the yogurt "know" on which day to spoil?
It might be good several days after, or, can even spoil BEFORE that date occurs.
I use it merely as a guideline, but use my smell and sight/ visual as well...since there are no guarantees BEFORE or AFTER that particular date.
With frozen products it's a different story.
If properly handled and packaged, it can last up to year/s.
You would be surprised to find out on just how long Turkeys (and such) are stored in the warehouses, leftover from previous slaughters.
The only enemy for frozen products is freezer burn, which affects the taste and structure of the product, making it unusable in a sense.
(Items with freezer burn are still okay to eat....but you will not enjoy it in the least, since it is dried out, and has that horrible taste to it....Yuck. )
I have one "rule" in my house, however.....Fresh meat stays in my fridge 1 or 2 days (max). If I don't use it by then, it ends up in my freezer, properly wrapped in a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.

Also, at this point, I would like to point out, that the packages you get at your grocers (wrapped meat) is NOT designed to hold up in your freezer!
It WILL get freezer burn......
Instead, take the whole package and slide it into a freezer bag. That way, you don't have to handle the product to much, and by having the original label still on it, will tell you WHAT it is, and WHAT date you purchased it (sell by date).

Last edited by MB2; 03-04-2008 at 06:24 AM.. Reason: adding info
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Old 03-04-2008, 07:47 AM
 
Location: Piedmont NC
4,597 posts, read 10,225,966 times
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Default Oh, LOL. . .

Before my brother-in-law became my brother-in-law, he was wining and dining my parents and sister (his future bride) at his little place. Now, this Guy had been a bachelor for many, many years.

My Dad, who loves bleu cheese and/or roquefort, asked for a blue cheese dressing. It comes out of the fridge, is poured all over his salad, and after a few bites, exclaims, "This IS the BEST bleu cheese dressing I've ever had. What kind is it?"

My BIL pulled the bottle out of the fridge, held it up -- K-r-a-f-t. He was horrified, though, to see it had expired, like, two years previously. They all laugh about it now. He says he prayed he didn't kill our Dad before he could get his blessings on the marriage.


Evidently, some of those expiration dates are not that important? I buy organic milk that keeps for nearly a month.
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,152 posts, read 57,274,608 times
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Something like salad dressing has so much vinegar in it that it will never go bad!

I play fast and loose with expiration dates. I just used a hunk of mozzarella cheese that had an expiration date of April 07. I unwrapped it, sniffed it, checked for mold, and shredded it. Served it in the lasagne to my in-laws. Nobody died (uh ... drat ... LOL).

Fresh foods usually let you know when they're not good -- the cheese is moldy or smells funny, milk gets lumpy, etc. I pulled a can of Reddi Wip out of the fridge the other day with an 05 expiration date. I did throw that out; I don't like whipped cream anyway.

Packaged foods are good for-freakin'-ever! Think Twinkies ... LOL ...
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:21 AM
 
Location: South Bay Native
13,043 posts, read 21,154,444 times
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With milk and OJ, it's the sniff/taste test. If milk isn't sour or rancid, it's still good. If the taste of OJ is off, then I chuck it. Sometimes I come home with a carton of milk and it is already sour when I open it. I only live two minutes from the store so no, it wasn't because it had been out too long.

With eggs, you can tell if it's time to chuck 'em by putting them in water - the ones that float are no longer fresh enough to eat. With cheese, you're ok even with the presence of a bit of mold - it can be whittled off if you have a big block of cheese - I wouldn't toss the whole thing because of bit of mold. You can avoid mold growing on the cheese if you keep from cross-contaminating the cut surface with a dirty knife - use a clean knife and cutting board and you'll be fine.

With fresh meats, I would not take for granted whatever date is printed on the package. Try to find packages with later expiration dates, and my rule for meats is this - two days in the fridge for beef or chicken, one day for pork or fish. Freeze it or cook it by that time, or it's going in the trash.

Bottled stuff like mayo and salad dressing have expiration dates because after a while the oils in them turn rancid - regardless of where you have been storing them. I consider the expiration dates more like "guidelines" so if I have a bottle of Ranch dressing in the fridge, and I notice that the exp date was about two weeks ago, if it still tastes the same it hasn't "turned" yet.

The thing many people aren't aware of regarding exp dates is luncheon meat (bologna, chopped ham, etc.) The packages may have an expiration date two months out, but that is if it has not been opened. After you open the package, it is no longer hermetically sealed and that's when the bacteria start to multiply. I would not keep an opened package of lunch meat beyond 6-7 days.

Another tip I learned - mold on bread is different than mold on cheese or fruits/veggies. If you see any trace of mold on your bread, throw the whole thing away - as in the entire loaf. It is still safe to "carve" off a little mold growth on cheese or veggies.
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Old 03-04-2008, 11:24 AM
 
4,899 posts, read 16,246,067 times
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Default Mb2

I have one "rule" in my house, however.....Fresh meat stays in my fridge 1 or 2 days (max). If I don't use it by then, it ends up in my freezer, properly wrapped in a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.

you see i always feel like if its been in the fridge it must be used by 2-3 days or throw away. i would never think to refreeze it...
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Old 03-04-2008, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Harlem, NY
308 posts, read 2,350,755 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunnyKayak View Post
How true are expiration dates.
Is it a sytem formula?
Or does food really go bad the day after?

From milk, meat to cheese to OJ how do they know?

I notice milk has a sell by date; what is difference than that and a expiration date? How many days can I really drink it?

If I freeze something does it prolong it's life and how much longer does it last after I thaw it out?

Thanks for your insight.

Well...I guess it depends on the milk. I had organic milk which tasted funny after let's say 5 to 7 days. The cheap milk on the other hand last a little longer, because of all the stuff they put in there. Yuck. Orange juice like the Tropicana kind last for at least a week, after that it's not good anymore, even though you won't taste any difference, you'll might feel it.

Cheese...depends which kind...parmesan can last for a long time. If the temparture in your fridge is on the right level. If you freeze food it can last for months. But I wouldn't recommend to defrost meat and freeze it again!
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Old 03-04-2008, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Fort Mill, SC (Charlotte 'burb)
4,730 posts, read 17,493,963 times
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Yogurt if kept at the proper temp is good for 7 days or longer after the sell by date.

Certain foods like whole wheat bread tend to grow mold fast.

Cheese, even with natural preservatives, can last a long time, some without refrigeration.
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Old 03-05-2008, 06:57 AM
MB2
 
Location: Sebastian/ FL
3,496 posts, read 8,562,567 times
Reputation: 2688
you see i always feel like if its been in the fridge it must be used by 2-3 days or throw away. i would never think to refreeze it...[/quote]

You are right.....and I agree.
I would never re- freeze a product, unless it is processed further to another (cooked) point.
OK, say you had pork chops, which were thawn out.....cook them up like you usually would.
Then, if there are leftovers, or more portions, and you would like to freeze them or the meal, yes, that is advisable.
In my line of work, I advice people to never re- freeze in the original state.....process it further, cook it properly, and you can freeze it again, if you chose to.
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