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Old 04-26-2015, 09:30 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Burnt-toast View Post
Thankyou. And I quite agree with everything you've said. I also have little stickers with dates on stuff.....even stuff I've cooked and frozen !!
What I'm trying to understand is what controls these dates that are on food products, as there doesn't seem to be any conformity behind it all. I'm sure there is, and that's what I'm trying to understand. I don't necessarily trust something as being Gospel, just because it;s printed on the packet.

Call me cynical if you wish, but I suspect 'other' motives behind some of these 'use by' dates.

Mustard is a good example. Since the start of the Second World War I have always just kept in on a shelf, and used it for years until the pot is empty.
Suddenly I see it must be 'Refrigerated after opening'. Since when ? Are they making it differently ? Which elements does it contain that can 'go off' ?

And presumably there must be a common factor amongst those foods that can become 'dangerous'. I just feel that it would be advantageous to know what these are. That's all.
Almost every date you will find on a product has nothing to do with health safety issues; it has to do with potential quality issues of the food.
Generally speaking, most of us can tell when a product has reached a point where the quality doesn't meet our individual standards and that is when we throw it out. I, for example, don't like it when my jelly begins to get runny on the top after a month or so. My wife is fine with it. So she eats it, but I don't.
But I don't not eat it because I'm afrid of getting sick. I just don't like the texture or the taste.

The point being, you will need to discover your own limits, and just use the dates as rough (very rough) guides.

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Old 04-26-2015, 10:11 PM   #22
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SO is very date conscious. I take a more common sense approach. She will check the date on sour cream and look at me as if to say it's not safe. I usually respond with a comment that it's OK as long as it's still white.

I agree we have to understand what the date means and take a common sense approach. Manufacturers don't care if we eat their stuff and buy more or throw it out and buy more. The common approach of, "When in doubt, throw it out" sells a lot of groceries.

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Old 04-26-2015, 11:02 PM   #23
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Refrigerate after Opening, & use within 10 Mins

I used to pitch anything that was beyond the "use by" date, but no longer. As long as nothing green or blue is growing on it, and it still tastes and smells OK, we eat it, within reason and common sense.
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Old 04-27-2015, 06:29 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Dawgluver View Post
I used to pitch anything that was beyond the "use by" date, but no longer. As long as nothing green or blue is growing on it, and it still tastes and smells OK, we eat it, within reason and common sense.
Me too, I use my eyes and nose to determine if it's still good to eat. My fridge is very cold and I've had milk well past its sell by date, taste just fine.
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Old 04-27-2015, 09:20 AM   #25
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I use the dates mostly to get the freshest stuff in the store and to decide which container to open when I have multiples of something. I also use the date to ask for my money back if something is off when I open it and it's before the date.
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Old 04-27-2015, 10:45 AM   #26
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For many years I really didn't have to concern myself with using foods up before their expiration dates but that's because I raised 8 children (most of whom were boys) and food "vaporized" before our eyes.

Then, when it was just Buck and me and now Glenn and me, pantry and refrigerated/frozen stores last considerably longer. I had to switch gears and be more cognizant of the taste, texture, smell, etc. of our foods. One of my best tools is my nose. The old sniff test can tell a lot. Green and fuzzy is self-explanatory. No one wants any U.F.O.s (unidentified food objects) in their refrigerator.

Having said this, I take a common sense approach when it comes to deciding whether something needs to stay or go.

Someone already mentioned about cold refrigerators, our refrigerator is kept somewhat colder than most, which allows many items to be stored longer.

In order for us to use this appliance to its fullest, it's important to understand how it works. For example, the rear bottom of any refrigerator is the coldest and that is where our excess milk and dairy products are kept. It's not unusual for unopened milk to last well over a month, with ample time left for consumption once it's opened. Trying to limit how often and how wide the door is opened on the refrigerator helps it to work to its fullest as well. I know. If you have children that's a near impossibility. How many times have you said, "Close the refrigerator door!"

As for quality of products beyond their "date," some foods definitely and obviously lose some of their zing once they pass their suggested date. That doesn't necessarily mean they're bad. They are not as flavorful as they were earlier in their life. In this respect, it's a personal preference. Same goes for the textures of some foods. Jelly has already been mentioned. And, as mentioned, personal preference comes into play again.

Herbs and spices are some of the most delicate of our stores and suffer greatly when exposed to warmth/heat/moisture. So many cooks find convenience in having their spice rack near or over their stove. There isn't a worse place for them. The heat and moisture in that area degrade them at a super-accelerated level. And if you don't already know, these cooking goodies are among the most expensive.

In some respects I feel that the "suggested" dates on foods are another form of planned obsolescence and good for the producer's bottom line and, as with any business, they are desirous of making a profit. I get it. Understanding that and being a wise caretaker of our foods can prevent consumers from being a victim of this.

Our freezer is one of my best friends. Nearly anything can be frozen but some items just don't like to be frozen. Egg dishes, mayonnaise dishes and some pasta dishes just don't do well in the freezer. They, for the most part, taste okay, but the texture is far from freshly-made. Your call here.

In the end, I simply purchase foods with the freshest date on them. I may root around on store shelves to get the best date to achieve this. When putting things in the pantry or refrigerator, the oldest is always toward the front. Stock is rotated on a religiously regular basis.

I'm not a scholar on packaged and/or canned foods because I've never been much of a purchaser of them since I buy fresh and can the produce from our summer gardens to sustain us for the year ahead. Plus, growing up, packaged foods had not been really part of the world of consumers. It wasn't until I was in high school that I learned about a boxed Chef Boyardee pizza product. We thought that was revolutionary!!! I don't recall what it was like, but I have a feeling it was pretty mediocre at best.

I looked around yesterday after we'd had our evening meal and realized that everything we ate ALL day had been made by scratch.

Don't know if I addressed any of the OP's concerns, but wanted to share how I handle the "keep or toss" kitchen dilemma.
"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
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Old 09-23-2015, 05:32 PM   #27
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Anything with dairy should be refrigerated after opened.
As to mustard it has vinegar so it is preserved.
That said, it will keep longer in the fridge. This is especially helpful if you use one jar every so many years.
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Old 09-24-2015, 09:17 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Dawgluver View Post
I used to pitch anything that was beyond the "use by" date, but no longer. As long as nothing green or blue is growing on it, and it still tastes and smells OK, we eat it, within reason and common sense.
I usually throw it out if it's gone "fuzzy".

Seriously, I'm more concerned with appearance and odor. Dates seem to be there so that you will toss it and buy more, whether you've actually used it up or not.

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