What foods are safe to eat past their expiration date?

Many foods can be eaten after their best before date (Photo: Getty)

Ideally, you eat everything for the ‘best before printed on the packaging.

But sometimes a random takeout or an unexpected meal means you don’t get time to eat it all food shop as and when you originally planned.

Luckily it’s not the end of the world like you can eat it maybe a day or two later – if it is definitely an expiration date (a guide to food quality) and not an expiration date (there due to food safety reasons).

Here, we explain which foods are generally considered okay to eat after their expiration date.

Plus why it’s a different story for the expiration date.

Which foods can you eat after the expiration date?

Can you eat eggs after the expiration date? (Photo: Getty)

Technically, anything frozen, dried, or canned should be good to eat just past its expiration date. Again, it’s more of a guideline and the food may taste slightly different.

Here are a few examples:

Store dry pasta in an airtight container (Picture: Getty)
  • They also say canned food can also last up to 24 months from the date.
  • Sauce bottleslike tomato ketchup, can be stored in the refrigerator for several months.
  • Vinegar And i am willow should take years.
  • Likewise, if you have your flour And sugar in an airtight container, not the paper packets they usually come in, it should be usable after the expiration date. (Watch out for little ‘weevils’ though, ie those little critters that can get in if left unsealed for long periods of time).
  • peanut butter may last past its best before date if stored in a cool, dark place (not in the refrigerator).
Peanut butter can last past its expiration date (Photo: Getty)
  • Cereals can also remain past the expiration date. Ideally, you would like to get them out of the box and keep them in an airtight container.
  • An unopened (this bit is important) package of cookies can be stored for a few weeks past the expiration date, says TooGoodToGo.

This is all based on proper storage, mind you, not just stuff you’ve slid half open in the back of the closet.

If something is past its expiration date, pay attention to how it looks, smells, and feels before you eat it. Food waste isn’t ideal, but don’t eat anything you’re not 100% sure about.

Can you eat food after the expiration date?

The above gives examples of things that, if they seem okay, you can eat after the expiration date.

Don’t ignore the expiration date no matter what you do (Photo: Getty)

However, you shouldn’t eat anything after the expiration date has passed, says the British Food Standards Agency.

The use by date is a food safety warning – not a guideline. The date shown is the last day the product should be eaten, even if the food looks all right and seems edible.

That’s because after this date there is a chance for bad bacteria to grow and even food poisoning.

Iain Haysom, senior lecturer in food safety at Bath Spa University, previously told Metro.nl:

“For example, if you consume fresh chicken after its expiration date, there is a greater risk of microbial and pathogen growth on the product, which means a higher risk of food poisoning and other illnesses.”

There are only two reasons why you should eat something past its expiration date. One is if you’ve frozen it in advance – and the other is if you’ve cooked it and stored it as part of another item.”

Meat and fish are some examples of products that can make you sick if you eat them after the expiration date.

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