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(Mother Nature Network)   There would be a lot less wasted food in this world if we didn't have all those pesky 'use by' dates   (mnn.com) divider line 27
    More: Obvious, sell-by dates, Food Marketing Institute  
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4979 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Sep 2013 at 2:33 PM (48 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



Voting Results (Smartest)
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2013-09-19 02:40:24 PM
5 votes:
If it weren't for "sell by" dates, food pantries would have 85% less food.
2013-09-19 02:59:08 PM
2 votes:
The statistics of food waste are staggering. It's estimated that a family of four throws away $2,275 each year in food.

I'm sure I was throwing that amount of food away per month at one time. Jesus, I'm a horrible grocery shopper. Finally got tired of seeing good money go down the drain (literally), so now I shop in much smaller increments. Maybe two or max three days worth of meals. I get the smaller sized milk because my son barely touches it, so I'm not tossing a half gallon of milk away every couple of weeks anymore. Instead of cooking a giant pot of spaghetti, I cook smaller portions knowing now that I am NOT going to eat spaghetti everyday for the rest of the week, no matter how much I convince myself that I will. Instead of gettinga satchel of bananas, like I'm expecting Grape Ape for dinner, I just get a few ripe ones so that only one or two are left at the end of the week. Etc.
2013-09-19 02:55:30 PM
2 votes:
"Use by" dates do have a purpose. On a tour with a friends band years ago, we stopped in a little town in northern California to stock up on road munchies and beer. Several people bought those nasty prepackaged sandwiches that all those places seem to have. When we opened them, they were this awful green color with mold and shiat, so folks checked the "sell by" date on them, and they were literally over a month past due. We took them back into the store and the dude refused to refund our money because the packages were opened. So things started getting nasty and loud. He called the cops. Cops showed up, and we showed them the packages.

Meanwhile, the storekeeper's wife or whoever was in the back of the coolers pulling all the other stuff off the shelves as fast as she could. Cop does a little investigation in the garbage and found out that nearly every food item in the store was at least a couple weeks past the sell-by date and told this greasy little prick to give us back our money. Meanwhile, he's screaming at the cops to arrest us for shoplifting and all sorts of other crap, trying to convince him that we just tried to rob him and such. Cop tells us to leave, and that he was closing the store on an emergency health basis because the store was where the cops had been getting their own road munchies for years.

There is a reason for those expiration dates. I make sure to check all of them now.
2013-09-20 12:10:08 AM
1 votes:
Have you guys eaten stale cheetos? That shiat is NECESSARY!
2013-09-19 11:42:51 PM
1 votes:
I found a pork loin in my freezer that was from 2005 a couple of weeks ago.  It had a "freeze by" date on it and the label said it should be used within a year of freezing.

I cooked it in the oven and it was delicious and it didn't make me sick.

I have eggs in the refrigerator that "expired" 2 months ago.  They still are good too.

Milk, OTOH, is something you should throw out.  If it smells bad and tastes bad, don't take any chances.  And if your milk is chunky, expect it to make you very very sick.

The funniest expiration date I ever saw was on bottled water at least 15 years ago.  It had a manufacturing date on it too.  Both dates included a time as well.  So exactly one year after this water was bottled it apparently "expired".  I was tempted to hang on to it to see what happened at that precise moment in time, but didn't bother.

I also seem to recall reading a story about some explorers in Antarctica who came across some food provisions left there by previous explorers about 100 years earlier who didn't survive.  They ate some of the frozen meat and it was just fine.  I think they said it wasn't very tasty, but they probably just weren't very good chefs.
2013-09-19 10:26:45 PM
1 votes:
RY28: I switched to organic milk which lasts for several weeks .

All milk is organic, but not all milk is "organic".

// only accept the scientific and biological definitions.
2013-09-19 08:31:49 PM
1 votes:

lordargent: RY28: I just love it when the milk is spoiled three days before the "use by" date , even though I keep my fridge at chilly beer temp . Yum !

I switched to almond milk, because I only used whole white milk for cereal, which I eat sporadically.

// I would eat a bowl of cereal, and the rest of the milk would spoil before I got the hankering for cereal again.

// Bonus, the almond milk doesn't even require refrigeration until it's opened.

// I'm not even quite sure when opened almond milk actually spoils. The recommendation is just a few days (silk says 7-10 days), but I think that recommendation is pure bullshiat because I've had quarts sitting around for much longer with no noticeable drop in quality whatsoever. So I'm still scratching my head as to what almond milk looks/smells like when it goes bad.


I buy milk by the half gallon and break it down into 8oz plastic containers, which go in the freezer.

I rarely drink milk, but do cook with it. It's nice always having milk that you know isn't spoiled.
2013-09-19 07:37:42 PM
1 votes:
RY28: I just love it when the milk is spoiled three days before the "use by" date , even though I keep my fridge at chilly beer temp . Yum !

I switched to almond milk, because I only used whole white milk for cereal, which I eat sporadically.

// I would eat a bowl of cereal, and the rest of the milk would spoil before I got the hankering for cereal again.

// Bonus, the almond milk doesn't even require refrigeration until it's opened.

// I'm not even quite sure when opened almond milk actually spoils. The recommendation is just a few days (silk says 7-10 days), but I think that recommendation is pure bullshiat because I've had quarts sitting around for much longer with no noticeable drop in quality whatsoever. So I'm still scratching my head as to what almond milk looks/smells like when it goes bad.
2013-09-19 04:58:44 PM
1 votes:

Burning_Monk: Soulcatcher: Obviously meat and dairy have a short lifespan. A box of Cap'n Crunch? Not so much. It just starts getting a stale taste eventually. It doesn't send you to the ER in diarrhea/vomit purgatory.

Depending on the meat, but when frozen it can usually last several months if not a year or more.


dustygrimp: Lots of people seem to not fark around with milk.  That's funny to me since it's the item that is most accomodating about telling you when it's bad by its smell.

Tip: don't just open a bottle of milk and smell it. Pour some into a cup and smell that. The milk film around the lid can be soured but the actual milk can still be good.


Frozen meat doesn't really go bad either, just loses taste.  I cooked a turkey that had been in the freezer too long (about a year and a half I think) and it was edible, just not very good at all.  I took all the meat off the carcass and made turkey chili and turkey casserole with it and those were awesome.
2013-09-19 04:30:03 PM
1 votes:
www.turkeycreekshopping.com

And other businesses like it, including the vending businesses, waste more food in one day than an average person will all year.

They're the real culprit.

/bonus, most of them will fire you if you try to take home anything they told you to throw out
2013-09-19 04:23:28 PM
1 votes:

Petit_Merdeux: It's Meatcake!


Came for this.  Surprised it took this far into the thread!
There's a bigger responsibility, and that is getting into that refrigerator and deciding which things need to be thrown away. Most peoplewill not take that responsibility. Most people will just go and get what they want, leave everything else alone, and say, 'Well, someone else wants that. Someone else will eat that.' Meanwhile, the thing is getting smaller, and smaller, and smaller...and is, in fact, stuck to the rack.

Well, I've gotta' go in there and decide when to throw things away. 'Chocolate pudding, does anyone want this last chocolate pudding? I have just one chocolate pudding left, it's only pulled away from the side of the dish about three inches all the way around...and there's a huge fault running through the center of the pudding. Actually, it's nothing but a ball of skin at this point. Does anyone want a ball of fault-ridden chocolate pudding skin, I'm only going to throw it away.'

Do people do that with you? Offer you some food that, if you don't eat it,they're only going to 'throw it away' Well, doesn't that make you feel dandy?'Here's some something to eat, Dave, hurry up, it's spoiling....something for you, Angela, eat quickly, that green pod is moving...here Bob, eat this before I give it to an animal.'"

"You ever been looking through the refrigerator, and you come across an empty plate? Boy, that starts me to wondering. DID SOMETHING EAT SOMETHING ELSE?!?! WHOA...MAYBE THE OLIVES ATE THE TUNA...MAYBE THAT CHICKEN ISN'T REALLY DEAD YET. Actually, I picture a little mouse with gloves and a parka on, you know, just waiting for the lights to go out."

 "Perhaps the worst thing that can happen is to reach into the refrigerator and come out with something that you cannot identify...at all. You literally do not know what it is! Could be meat...could be cake. Usually, at a time like this, I'll bluff:'Honey, is this good?''Well, what is it?''I don't know...I've never seen anything like it. It looks like...MEATCAKE!''Well, smell it!''(sniff)-ah, (sniff)-ah...it has absolutely no smell whatsoever!''It's good!'
2013-09-19 03:40:47 PM
1 votes:

YixilTesiphon: Thingster: Look up egg recycling.

Eggs are so shelf stable that it's legal for the store to send them back, at which point they get mixed in with fresh eggs, put in a carton with a new use by date, and sent back to the store.

So use by dates on eggs are functionally meaningless? Delightful.


water test, that's all you need.  Floating eggs, no bueno
2013-09-19 03:30:06 PM
1 votes:
It's Meatcake!
2013-09-19 03:19:06 PM
1 votes:

DROxINxTHExWIND: YixilTesiphon: DROxINxTHExWIND: The statistics of food waste are staggering. It's estimated that a family of four throws away $2,275 each year in food.

I'm sure I was throwing that amount of food away per month at one time. Jesus, I'm a horrible grocery shopper. Finally got tired of seeing good money go down the drain (literally), so now I shop in much smaller increments. Maybe two or max three days worth of meals. I get the smaller sized milk because my son barely touches it, so I'm not tossing a half gallon of milk away every couple of weeks anymore. Instead of cooking a giant pot of spaghetti, I cook smaller portions knowing now that I am NOT going to eat spaghetti everyday for the rest of the week, no matter how much I convince myself that I will. Instead of gettinga satchel of bananas, like I'm expecting Grape Ape for dinner, I just get a few ripe ones so that only one or two are left at the end of the week. Etc.

Jesus, my wife and I spend about $5000/year on food.

Mostly I use sell by dates on things like eggs to see how long they are likely to last. If the grocery store is selling eggs with sell by dates a few days away (fark you Randall's), I stay away.

On the other hand I sometimes buy 36 eggs at Costco with sell by dates far in the future. I ate three this morning that were "best by" yesterday. That doesn't worry me.


Just to clarify, I was exaggerating. If I was throwing away $2200/month in food, I have a good support system around me who would try to whip my ass. That kind of stupidity is frowned upon in my circle.


Everybody should have such a system in place. I have a few friends who need jumped for their financial ways.
2013-09-19 03:16:37 PM
1 votes:

12349876: Carn: So I guess eat more fresh food and it's less of a problem?

They're the ones that need it most.  I have no idea if the blueberries I get will last 4 days or 14 days.

/have gotten both
//hard as single guy to make it through a whole pack in 4 days if you want some variety in your fruit


Not me, I'm a blueberry monster.  A big pack is usually two days.  I buy them on sale and freeze or just buy frozen cuz I eat them in large amounts.  Go great in breakfast smoothies.  Blueberries are easy though, check the bottom of the pack when you buy and make sure none are smooshed.  If they are any smooshed ones they will go moldy in a day or two and then you have that fun decision of how much mold am I eating?  But honestly I don't hardly see that any more.  They last at least a week or two in the fridge and basically forever if you freeze.  In the fridge they usually get a little white dot of mold/fungus on the bottom when they start to go bad.  Toss those and eat the rest quick.  And I know for a fact I've accidentally eaten some with the little dots and aside from tasting a little funky they won't hurt you.
2013-09-19 03:16:24 PM
1 votes:

The Crepes of Wrath: How about not buying more food than you're capable of eating before it spoils?  That would help.


Ilive alone, and thatcan be pretty difficult to do at times, unless I'm willing to eat the same thing three times in a week.
2013-09-19 03:11:03 PM
1 votes:

LoneVVolf: If you see a tin can swelled up like a water balloon, nuke it form orbit. Just to be sure...


Or a glass jar with the popup thingy pushed out
2013-09-19 02:59:24 PM
1 votes:
How about not buying more food than you're capable of eating before it spoils?  That would help.
2013-09-19 02:57:08 PM
1 votes:

TheAnusThatAteManhattan: Russ1642: Jim_Callahan: OK, so let's swap from pasteurization to irradiation treatments (x-ray exposure) as the standard sterilization.  That'll, what, triple the expiration dates on food so we can ship it everywhere?

Oh, wait, farking anti-nuclear conspiracy theorist morons like the people running MNN have shat on anything with the word 'radiation' in it so that we can't have nice things.  How unfortunate.

I think most food irradiation is done with gamma sources (not that there's a physical difference from x-rays). I've had nutters explain to me that microwave ovens leave radiation in food so unless you change the education system in the US you'll never get the people to understand it.

It's worse than that even.  I've talked with science and engineering majors who won't use wifi because it's radiation and can cause cancer.  Oy vey.


I've seen it go full retard. I used to work at a small nuclear reactor. The nutcases would get headaches and dizziness just by being in our lab, even when the reactor was off and there was next to nothing radiactive sitting around, and the reactor itself was a couple floors beneath them at the bottom of a deep pool. No matter how much you tried to explain it to them they just couldn't handle seeing all those radioactive warning stickers on everything. They'd probably throw up if they came within three feet of a biohazard sticker.
2013-09-19 02:51:25 PM
1 votes:

tuna fingers: I agree with these guys FTFA:
Screw those dates. Arbitrary. Empower yourself and use your senses. Does it look smell or taste gross? No, then eat it!'Use by' is a guideline. Scratch 'n sniff is more effective.  Even more so with pharmaceuticals (within reason).


As someone who has tested pharmaceuticals after 3 years in a controlled "bad" environment (H3/H4 - 40°C 75%RH) I can say that while most will last for decades, you have the problem that a few of them degrade into some nasty chemicals.  Oh, and stay away from acetaminophen if at all possible.
2013-09-19 02:47:11 PM
1 votes:

Jim_Callahan: OK, so let's swap from pasteurization to irradiation treatments (x-ray exposure) as the standard sterilization.  That'll, what, triple the expiration dates on food so we can ship it everywhere?

Oh, wait, farking anti-nuclear conspiracy theorist morons like the people running MNN have shat on anything with the word 'radiation' in it so that we can't have nice things.  How unfortunate.


I think most food irradiation is done with gamma sources (not that there's a physical difference from x-rays). I've had nutters explain to me that microwave ovens leave radiation in food so unless you change the education system in the US you'll never get the people to understand it.
2013-09-19 02:44:36 PM
1 votes:
How else am I supposed to know when my bleu cheese goes bad?
2013-09-19 02:43:41 PM
1 votes:
OK, so let's swap from pasteurization to irradiation treatments (x-ray exposure) as the standard sterilization.  That'll, what, triple the expiration dates on food so we can ship it everywhere?

Oh, wait, farking anti-nuclear conspiracy theorist morons like the people running MNN have shat on anything with the word 'radiation' in it so that we can't have nice things.  How unfortunate.
2013-09-19 02:42:20 PM
1 votes:
Anything before the date is good 99.999% of the time (packaging errors/damaged packaging might still cause it to spoil). After the date? Don't be a pussy. Your ancestors imported spices to deal with the less-than-fresh taste of foods that were just over the peak. Learn from the past.
2013-09-19 02:40:22 PM
1 votes:
images3.wikia.nocookie.net

It's more of a guidline than a rule.

/oblig pirate day reference fulfilled.
2013-09-19 02:39:58 PM
1 votes:
What's the percentage of "poors" with refrigerators? I'm sure that effects these dates.
2013-09-19 02:38:20 PM
1 votes:
I think a bigger problem is quality consistency and storage/processing.

I've had products that when opened are obviously bad but well before the sell by date.  Not many, but some.


Use your nose and eyes like others in the comments said.
 
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