Can We Eat Expired Food?
Our health education has taught us to throw away food that has passed its use-by date. However, some people claim that it is possible to eat food beyond its expiry date.
So, is respecting the expiration date essential or superfluous?
In reality, it depends on the food.
Expired minced meat: never!
Eating minced meat that is past its use-by date, even if only by one day, is dangerous for your health:
– You risk contamination with salmonella or staphylococcus aureus.
– These bacteria develop in raw meat and are not necessarily destroyed during cooking.
– In addition, the equipment used to grind the meat can contaminate it with these bacteria.
– It is, therefore, imperative to respect the deadline to prevent them from developing too much.
– Poisoning caused by these bacteria can be severe and lead to death in fragile people. Be careful!
Good to know: more generally, products with swollen or pierced packaging should not be consumed, even before they have reached their sell-by date. Indeed, in both cases, air has infiltrated the packaging, and bacteria may have developed.
Expired deli meats and raw fish: risk of poisoning
If you miss the best before date on raw fish or a jar of rillettes, throw them in the garbage:
– Spoiling food can be annoying, but spoiling your health is even more so!
– You risk catching listeriosis by eating expired deli meats and raw fish.
– This disease can have serious consequences:
◦ sepsis (widespread infection);
◦ spontaneous abortion in pregnant women.
Good to know: highly salted fish can withstand an extra day or two. However, do not take unnecessary risks. If you are pregnant, weakened, or elderly, throw it away. Also, please do not give it to your child.
Expired dairy products: 5-day tolerance
Let’s be clear, anyone with a functioning sense of taste can never swallow expired dairy products:
– However, the consumer can leave 5 days after the best-before date.
– Beyond that, dairy products can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting.
– Anyway, expired milk and yogurt often have a very unpleasant taste. This will stop you right away!
Eating expired cheese
Experts will tell you that good raw milk Camembert cheese is never out of date. However, aged cheese develops a very unpleasant smell. In addition, mold can grow on its surface. If you eat it, you risk food poisoning. And grated cheese that has become moldy in pasta is of little interest…
Good to know: cheeses made from raw milk present more risks than those made from cooked and pasteurized milk. The expiration date can be exceeded by up to 2 weeks. However, it is strongly advised not to take this risk.
Expired frozen products
In the case of frozen food, it is no time limit but a Best Before Date:
– This date indicates that the product can still be consumed but that its taste qualities (texture, flavor, etc.) may be altered.
– It is possible to exceed the deadline by a few months.
However, the cold chain must not be broken. This means that you should never refreeze a defrosted food, even partially:
– This is because some bacteria resist freezing, which stops their growth.
– When defrosting, the warming of the temperature allows these bacteria to proliferate.
– Normally, the proliferation is insufficient to cause intoxication when the food is cooked quickly afterward.
– However, if the food is refrozen, the freezing time allows the bacteria to increase again.
– Then, the process is the same. The bacteria have their growth stopped by the freezing but proliferate again with each new defrosting.
So be careful! If you keep freezing and thawing, you will end up ingesting entire civilizations of harmful bacteria.