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Are Expired Foods Still Safe to Eat?

By: Laurie L. Dove

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Author's Note: Are Expired Foods Still Safe To Eat?

I've been wrong all along. There has been a great debate about food in my home, particularly when it comes to expiration dates. I err on the side of caution, tossing yogurts, condiments, soups, leftovers — anything that goes a day past its prime. I blame my mother (in the most loving way). A child of the Great Depression, she is exceedingly frugal. She's been known to remove mold from cheese and serve the good parts with dinner. When she cracks an egg, she runs her finger around the inside of the shell to remove all the white. She adds water to soup and never makes a meal that can't be stretched to feed a crowd. She's actually a great cook, but her tendency to see expiration dates as a moving target influenced my food storage habits in adulthood. I've been faithfully obeying expiration dates for years. Now it looks like I may need to change my tune. Or what's on the menu, at the very least.

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  • Charles, Dan. "Don't Fear That Expired Food." NPR. Dec. 26, 2012. (Feb. 24, 2014) http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/12/26/167819082/dont-fear-that-expired-food
  • Dairy Council of California. "Can I Freeze Milk?" (Feb. 24, 2014) http://www.healthyeating.org/Milk-Dairy/Dairy-Facts/Milk-Storage-Handling/Article-Viewer/Article/1583/Can-I-Freeze-Milk.aspx
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  • Natural Resources Defense Council. "The Dating Game." Oct. 22, 2013. (Feb. 24, 2014) http://www.nrdc.org/food/expiration-dates.asp
  • Sifferlin, Alexandra. "Foods You Are Probably Throwing Away Too Early." Time. Sept. 19, 2013. (Feb. 24, 2014) http://healthland.time.com/2013/09/18/foods-you-are-probably-throwing-away-too-early/
  • Sifferlin, Alexandra. "Is Your Food Expired? Don't Be So Quick To Toss It." Time. Sept. 18, 2013. (Feb. 24, 2014) http://healthland.time.com/2013/09/18/is-your-food-expired-dont-be-so-quick-to-toss-it/#ixzz2tF0f7LGD
  • USDA. "Food Product Dating." August 2013. (Feb. 24, 2014) http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/19013cb7-8a4d-474c-8bd7-bda76b9defb3/Food_Product_Dating.pdf?MOD=AJPERES