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Old 05-14-2014, 12:15 PM   #11
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I am always looking for "Manager's Special" in the meat section. It is usually a piece of meat that should have been sold the day before or that day. That piece goes right into the freezer as soon as I get home from the grocery store. It is still a good piece of meat, and has been trimmed as a rule. It can be as much as $3.00 a pound less than other like pieces in the meat department. I have never had a problem with any that I have bought.

Like the article said, most of those labels are just a courtesy of the manufacturer. As a child, they were never there. There are no real guidelines for the company to follow regarding just how long the shelf life may be. When I lived in Tacoma, a local dairy had a small store that used to sell their overflow of their milk and other dairy products. They had one fridge that had day old "pulled milk". It was one day past the date on the container. It was more than half off. If I was going to be using it in baking, I would buy a quart or two. It would stay fresh for more than a couple of days. A couple of times I even put a quart or two in the freezer. Came out just fine.

When I buy my half and half I always look for the date furthest away. I buy it by the half gallon. Cheeses and other dairy, I never look at the "best if used by" date. I figure if the date comes and goes, my cheese is aging to a better flavor.

The date on can goods is usually the date of production. Not a "Best ..." date.
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Old 05-15-2014, 01:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aunt Bea View Post
One item I seem to have problems with on a regular basis is the bagged salad in the produce section. The dates are almost meaningless. I look for the longest date and then still try to look at the salad itself to see if it is brown or starting to get slimy.
I do the same thing and I am certain the produce manager hates to see me come in the store.
I immediately reach for the bags in the very back and in Costco, I have been known to move heavy crates out of the way to get to the freshest asparagus bag at the bottom.
I rarely buy package lettuce with the exception of baby spinach and mixed spring greens. I also buy shredded coleslaw mix in the bag.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
When you are buying something as opposed to when you are using something, the dates give you an idea of what's fresher.
I rummage in the back at the store to get the latest date.
My daughter worked at a grocery store when she was in school.
She laughed at me when she saw me going through the bags of greens.
She told me the store was smarter than me and actually put the new ones in front as they knew the customers would go for the ones in the back.

So, now I have to check ALL of them to find the newest date.
It never hurts to ask if a fresher batch is in the back. I have on many occasions been rewarded with newer dated product, just for asking.
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Old 05-15-2014, 05:02 PM   #13
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Vinegar

I recently opened up a bottle of Chinese vinegar I found in the basement that had been sitting (unopened) on the shelf for 12 years. It was fine. Still smelled good, looked good and tasted good. I've been using it and it is about half gone now.
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Old 05-15-2014, 05:20 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Stock Pot View Post
I recently opened up a bottle of Chinese vinegar I found in the basement that had been sitting (unopened) on the shelf for 12 years. It was fine. Still smelled good, looked good and tasted good. I've been using it and it is about half gone now.
It's vinegar. It was already spoiled when they bottled it.
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Old 05-17-2014, 11:29 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Addie View Post
I am always looking for "Manager's Special" in the meat section. It is usually a piece of meat that should have been sold the day before or that day. That piece goes right into the freezer as soon as I get home from the grocery store. It is still a good piece of meat, and has been trimmed as a rule. It can be as much as $3.00 a pound less than other like pieces in the meat department. I have never had a problem with any that I have bought.
Me too. In fact the Manager's Special is always the first place I stop in the meat section.

First of all, I ignore anything that has been prepared or ground in any way. (Shish-ka-bobs, ground meat.) And fish? No thanks!!!

A friend is really into barbecuing and grilling and he told me he takes steaks and intentionally leaves them in his fridge for at least a week after the sell by date before cooking them. He said the flavor was much improved.

I tried it. He was right. It might a slight off smell but very little, and it tasted better than one of those steaks put out first day.

I guess the USDA just has overly stringent regulations for how long beef steaks can be kept for sale at a supermarket. The regulations are totally out of line in my opinion.

Whenever I see a "sell by" rib eye in the Manager's Special I snap it up! It becomes dinner in the next few days.
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Old 05-17-2014, 11:31 AM   #16
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What do you think about bacon in the Manager's Special section?
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Old 05-17-2014, 12:25 PM   #17
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I hesitate to bring this up, somebody always has an argument about it....

the federal government - be it FDA, USDA, NIH, CIA, NSA, the catfish inspectors' office (yes, there is one of those....) - with the exception of baby formula and a minor blivet for shell eggs - do not set any dates for anything food related. not sell by, not best by, not use by - none of that.

baby formula does have a federally mandated use by date.
shell eggs displaying the USDA shield must be labeled with the pack date and _IF_ and that's an _IF_ the packager _chooses_ to put a sell by or use by date on the carton in may not be 30 days (I think that's the right number....) later than the pack date. do note that the pack date could be 2-3 years after the egg was laid by the hen, there are no regulations regarding that time interval.

some states have other laws and regulations. including states which have passed laws specifically holding merchants harmless and defacto 'permitting' stores to sell stuff past its 'date' - whichever form that make take.

so, a supermarket can package up some ground beef, label it "Use by 01 Jan 2110" and leave it out forever without breaking a single "labeling" law.

but, US code does require it be "wholesome" - so selling green moldy gound beef - they'd get caught up on that one.

one can actually look this stuff up.
Food Product Dating
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Old 05-17-2014, 12:38 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Greg Who Cooks View Post
What do you think about bacon in the Manager's Special section?
No problem for me. It has been smoked and partially cured. So the Manager's Special just tells me it is just getting older with more flavor.
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Old 05-17-2014, 12:52 PM   #19
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And not just foods. Drugs, both prescription and OTC, are often usable after the expiry date.

From Harvard Health:

"Most of what is known about drug expiration dates comes from a study conducted by the Food and Drug Administration at the request of the military. With a large and expensive stockpile of drugs, the military faced tossing out and replacing its drugs every few years. What they found from the study is 90% of more than 100 drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, were perfectly good to use even 15 years after the expiration date.

So the expiration date doesn't really indicate a point at which the medication is no longer effective or has become unsafe to use. Medical authorities state expired drugs are safe to take, even those that expired years ago. A rare exception to this may be tetracycline, but the report on this is controversial among researchers. It's true the effectiveness of a drug may decrease over time, but much of the original potency still remains even a decade after the expiration date. Excluding nitroglycerin, insulin, and liquid antibiotics, most medications are as long-lasting as the ones tested by the military. Placing a medication in a cool place, such as a refrigerator, will help a drug remain potent for many years."

Drug Expiration Dates — Do They Mean Anything?—The Family Health Guide

Tetracyclines (and their derivatives) may be one of the other exceptions but there isn't complete agreement about that. I would never use my doxycycline after date of expiration----- just in case.

I also don't know if keeping a med in the fridge is a good idea---- for all meds. But that may be just my bias.

Don't take MY advice, please. Check with your pharmacist or doctor. (My doctor was the one who gave me this information.)

There's also some debate about whether this information is only for unopened bottles----- so read this article also and have your PCP advise you on this. If I were a PCP I would probably advise---- NO-----because s/he wouldn't know if you had left the bottle in your car when the temperature was 100 degrees!! People do some really strange things!

Drug Expiration Dates - Are Expired Drugs Still Safe to Take?
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Old 05-17-2014, 12:59 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcSaute View Post
I hesitate to bring this up, somebody always has an argument about it....
Oh yeah, ain't THAT the truth!

Quote:
one can actually look this stuff up.

Food Product Dating
Thanks for giving a good source for your information.
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