Foods that have past their expiry date: To chow it or chuck it?

Foods that have past their expiry date: To chow it or chuck it?

Does the expiry date on foods really matter, or is it just a case of "if it doesn't smell bad, there is nothing wrong with it?"

expired food in fridge istock
Expired food in fridge / iStock

Picture this - you're dying for a good cup of coffee, you head to the fridge, open the door, and reach for the milk. Then, the shock and horror, you discover the milk is past its expiry date. But wait, it doesn't smell bad. Should you go ahead and use it?

We've all heard the age-old talk of there being a huge difference between best before and expiry dates. Simply put by Freshmag: "Expiration dates tell consumers the last day a product is safe to consume. Best before date, on the other hand, tells you that the food is no longer in its perfect shape from that date. It may just lose its freshness, taste, aroma or nutrients. It does not necessarily mean that the food is no longer safe to eat."

READ: Six foods that are likely to give you food poisoning

I came across some interesting research by Business Insider UK which explored which food groups are still okay to be consumed following their expiry date, and the findings were interesting.  

Here's how long these foods can last after their expiration date:

  • Eggs: 'Egg'-perts say 2 weeks but just do the floating egg test just in case (Fill a glass with water and if the egg floats, it's rotten)
  • Milk: 1 - 2 weeks 
  • Salad greens: If it's too brown or slimy, get rid of it 
  • Meat: Be wary. When the colour of meat has changed, or if it is starting to develop a slimy film over it, rather stay away

We asked Jane about what her thoughts are on consuming expired food.

"Well for me it depends what food group the category falls in. I'd say meat and dairy are non-negotiable, although the other day I witnessed a biscuit with two days after the expiration date being eaten. Hell no!" she said. 

ALSO READ - Wendy Knowler investigates food expiry dates: Why we should care

Jane added: "When it comes to vegetables I look more at the texture and then gauge more on the feel and smell rather than the date."

When you realise something is expired in the fridge, what do you do? Do you smell and taste to make sure or ignore the expiration date and indulge?

Main image courtesy of iStock/AndreyPopov

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