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Lots of people think that foods that have crossed their expiry date should definitely be thrown out. But this is not necessarily the case, because this date is no guarantee of food safety. It is more of a suggestion from the manufacturer indicating the time during which the food is at its freshest. Actually this date follows the words “Best before”.
It should be noted that the law does not require manufacturers of products whose shelf life exceeds 90 days to print an expiry date on the packaging. Many do so anyway, in part to maintain proper rotation of foods in the supermarket. But this could lead to a lot of wastage.
Here are some tips and precautions to help you reduce your food wastage (and save money at the same time!)
Instead of relying solely on the expiry date, it is better to trust the visual appearance, odor and taste of the food. Does the expired food smell bad or look different? If it does, then throw it out. If it doesn’t, you can usually eat it, with a few exceptions.
These can be eaten as long as they are not rotten. If they are going bad, you can slice off a few pieces, and eat the rest. In the case of lettuce, spinach and other green vegetables that appear withered, an ice water bath can make them perfectly edible and appetizing.
In case of meat, always go by the smell, regardless of the date! Well preserved, it can stay fresh for a few days after its expiry date; but on the other hand, it might have gone bad, even before reaching its expiry date. When in doubt, don’t risk it. Fish and seafood spoil quickly, so it’s better to respect the date.
They may remain fresh for a few days or even weeks after their expiry date, but not always. The best test remains the glass of water test: if the egg sinks to the bottom, it can be eaten, if it floats, discard it.
Yogurt remains good for months after its expiry date, provided that the cold chain has been respected. Cream, sour cream, cream cheese and hard cheese will last for a few weeks after the date. Cottage cheese and fresh cheeses (bocconcini, feta, ricotta etc.) will not keep so well. As for milk, we can often consume it several days after its expiry date if its smell and texture remain the same.