When was the last time you cleaned out your pantry?
Along with those kitchen appliances that need to be stowed away and the cabinets that are waiting to be wiped down are probably a number of pantry items and refrigerated goods that have long surpassed their prime.
After all, what exactly is the shelf life of that bottle of ketchup, anyway? Before you get to that major project of deep cleaning your kitchen, brush up on your food storage knowledge.
Let's get started, shall we?
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Safeway-owned Dominick's maintains that "expiration dates on food products are largely based on quality, not food safety." Likewise, the US government doesn't require dates on most packaged food items, and the state of Illinois has no legal recourse against expired foods in supermarkets.
Both Katie and I are very lax about sell-by dates and see them as a loose guideline rather than a hard-and-fast consumption deadline — although I understand consumers' desire to want the freshest food possible. Where do you stand?
Source: Flickr User Lars Plougmann
I've always wondered what exactly an expiration date means on a drug. Does it become less effective? Could it poison me? Obviously, there's a big difference in those two things, so I was glad to see this NPR story that sheds some light on drug expiration dates.
Just because a drug is past its expiration date doesn't necessarily mean you should toss it. Many states require drug labels to carry an expiration date just one year past the date of sale, but drug manufacturers often set dates two years later, based on testing.
The FDA's Ilisa Bernstein says there are no guarantees that drugs will be effective after the expiration date but that medications stored in a cool, dry place can last much longer. Does that mean we should focus on decoding drug names and drug interactions and not worry about the expiration dates?
If the drug is used to treat something commonplace, such as headaches or heartburn, you're probably safe using it past the date. But for medications your life depends on — particularly meds for severe allergic reactions such as EpiPens — you should not use them past the expiration date.
Have you ever realized you were cooking with something that was totally expired? Share your stories below.
Do you enjoy hard boiled eggs? How do you record their age?
The other day DearSugar dragged me to the kitchen and asked me to inspect her sliced deli turkey. It had been sitting in the fridge for more than a couple of days and she wasn't sure if the turkey was still edible or not. I explained that there are several ways to tell when cold cuts have gone bad:
- Start by looking at the sell by date. All lunch meats (whether they are prepackaged or fresh cut from the deli) have a sell by date. It's best to consume the meat within seven to 10 days after the sell by date.
- Generally speaking, once it's been opened, eat within three to five days.
- If the meat is extremely slimy with a film on the outside, throw it away.
- Any odd or off smells of vinegar, ammonia, or yeast mean it's time to throw the turkey, pastrami, or ham out.
- This goes without saying, but if there's any mold or growths on the meat or package, dispose of it immediately.