7 Foods Whose Expiration Date Is Useless!
Do you have the reflex to put yogurt or a packet of cookies in the garbage can as soon as it has reached its expiration date? It is a habit due to our health education but did you know that in practice, many foods remain edible without any danger to health for several days, weeks, months, or even years after this famous date? Before throwing it away, please consult our list below.
Some catering and food industry operators are even obliged to propose a donation agreement to associations for the recovery of their unsold food still consumable. Thus, it is forbidden, for the operators of the collective catering and the food-processing industry, to make unfit-for-consumption unsold food still consumable.
1. Expired yogurts are not!
You can consume yogurts (plain or with fruits), white cheese, fermented milk, and dessert cream after the expiration date displayed on the lid. And this is up to two or three months!
The most important thing to do to be able to consume these products with peace of mind is to respect the following conditions:
– Yogurts must be kept between 0 and 6 °C.
– There must be no break in the cold chain. For example, do not leave your groceries in the trunk of your car for two hours in the sun!
– The yogurt pot must be intact, and the lid must not be pierced or swollen.
– The product must not have a moldy surface or an unpleasant odor.
Good to know: depending on the product, the expiration date can be indicated by a “use by” date or a “best before” date. The first indicates that the product can potentially harm health after this date. The second indicates that, once the date has passed, the product does not present any danger but that its nutritional qualities or its taste may be altered.
2. Canned food can be stored for several years
Regardless of their content, canned foods can be consumed several years after the use-by date. The only condition is to store them in a cool and dry place.
According to the experts at the CFA (Canned Food Alliance), “a can has an almost infinite shelf life as long as it is kept at a moderate temperature, below 23°C”.
Good to know: If the can has dents or rust, it is still good to eat. However, it should be discarded if the lid is swollen on the inside or outside.
3. Frozen food can be kept for several years
Frozen products can be consumed several years after the optimal use-by date if they are kept in good conditions (at a temperature of -18°C and without breaking the cold chain).
The only problem is that some products packaged in cardboard containers (e.g., ice cream or breaded fish) can develop an unpleasant taste.
Freezing and deep-freezing are two different processes. In the first case, the food is frozen quickly to temperatures up to -35°C. In the second case, the cooling is slower and less powerful.
Good to know: home frozen products (in this case, we do not talk about deep-freezing) do not keep as long as frozen industrial products.
4. Dry foods (rice, pasta, cookies…) last for months
All dry products can be consumed several months or even years after the use-by date without any problem. This concerns:
– rice, pasta, bulgur, quinoa…;
– lentils, dried beans..;
– coffee, tea, chocolate powder;
– chocolate bars.
With all these products, the only risk is that they lose a little taste or texture: stale coffee, less crunchy cookies…
Good to know: some flours tend to go rancid. It is, therefore, preferable to keep them in the refrigerator. This is the case for coconut flour, brown rice flour, and almond powder (which can be considered flour).
5. Some cheeses are good for 2 weeks
Cheeses can be consumed up to two weeks after the date on the label, whether made from raw or pasteurized milk, as long as they do not have mold or an unpleasant odor.
Generally, the date indicated on the cheese is not a “use by” date but a “best before” date. In practice, some manufacturers prefer to indicate a best-before date, as they believe consumers better understand this.
Good to know: raw milk cheeses present more risks of bacteriological contamination (especially by Listeria) than cooked cheeses. This is why raw milk cheeses are not recommended during pregnancy.
6. Deli meat can be kept for several weeks
The expiry date for raw ham and dry sausage can be exceeded by two to three weeks without any health risks. Provided that these products have been stored in a cool place at a maximum temperature of 8°C.
Good to know: the rule is not the same for white ham. Vacuum-packed white ham must be consumed before the use-by date. It is recommended to consume sliced white ham within two days of purchase.
7. UHT milk can be kept for about 2 months
Sterilized at ultra-high temperature (UHT) for a few seconds, UHT milk no longer contains germs. It can therefore be kept for a very long time, up to about two months after the optimal use-by date. Beyond that date, it may lose some of its taste, but it is still safe to drink.
Good to know: once opened, the bottle must be kept in a cool place and consumed within 3 to 4 days.
Finally, if some products can be consumed without risk after the deadline, it is not the case for other foods (including ground meat, raw products, and eggs …). For all these products, there are rules of hygiene to respect to avoid getting sick.