WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

What do food expiration dates really mean?

Posted September 1, 2010

I just read an interesting article about food expiration dates. Basically, it states that many foods are good after their expiration dates so don't automatically throw something away just because the date on the carton has arrived. Frugal folks have long known this tidbit of info, because it pains us to throw any food away! I was talking to a Harris Teeter manager a few months ago and he told me they guarantee the quality of their canned soups for up to a year after expiration date. In the end, it's all about quality and whether the product looks or smells spoiled. Obviously some foods last longer after expiration than others, but don't assume a product is no good just because the date stamped on the bottom has come and gone. Enjoy the article and please share any expiration date stories you may have.

Here's my story: A couple years ago, I had a whole turkey in the bottom of my chest freezer that I bought at HT the previous year for about .19/lb. I remembered it was there about a year later and wasn't sure how tasty it would be. I called Butterball who assured me it was safe to eat but that it may be a little dry. We cooked it up and it was excellent, despite being in the freezer for over a year.

Click HERE to read the article.


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  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Sep 1, 2010

    I agree Boomer - cereal, pasta and rice also have a very long shelf life, as well. Thanks for posting!

  • boomer3145 Sep 1, 2010

    I noticed last summer as the new Kraft salad dressings, mustards, soups& the Nascar Hellmans came out they had very short use by dates. In fact the were due to expire before the dates of my old stash. It's a marketing ploy to get you to toss them. You're right Faye-we taste it all first. Vinegar based & canned products have a very long life.