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Old 05-27-2008, 11:03 AM   #1
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Expiration dates! aaaAgh!

My kids are new fangled nutjobs.
They swear that if a food product [or a medicine product] says a certain date and it's passed, it's used up and needs to be tossed.
They think I'm the oddest/weirdest person ever.
If I bring something home from the store and the date is close, they won't have a thing to do with it. If I have cold meds in the medicine cabinet, they won't use it if it expired last week [and tell me to toss it].

My personal opinion is that this is a way for companys to make more money off their stuff. You'll see the date and chuck it [if it's close to expiration] or won't use [then] you'll buy more.

My gonna be DIL tossed a huge unopened bag of beef jerky because the date was up. What'd it cost? Like 10 bucks? She also, same day, tossed out a big unopened plastic container box of those baby greens from the market for same reason. Our oldest son, laughed out loud when he was dyin on the vine here [at our house with the worlds worst cold] and I'd pulled out all my stops of cold meds for him to use and try to make him feel better. He said, "You can't be serious mom, do you really expect me to take this stuff? It's expired and out of date." His dad then went to the store to buy all new stuff and when I got home from work, all old meds were in the trash, they'd gone through it all, all 4 bathroom medicine cabinets. His wife is the nurse and has lead him down this path but still....................

Anyone agree or am I the dimwit here? Oh please do chime in, this just came up AGAIN this morning.

Do you automatically dump stuff or do you eat the yogurt even if it expired last week?


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Old 05-27-2008, 11:09 AM   #2
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If it smells fine I'll eat it.

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Old 05-27-2008, 11:12 AM   #3
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One of our primary care doctors told us that medications don't 'spoil' when they age, they just lose potency. You are not going to poison yourself. The one exception she made was heart meds.

Lots of foods are fine to eat past their date. Those dates are guidelines for the best quality of the packaged item. Quality deteriorates as it ages. A lot also depends on storage conditions. You can have food spoil before the expiration date just as you an have it be good after the expiration date.

I have a real problem with the jerky's being tossed. It's dried to preserve it. It should last forever. I'm sure there were no expiration dates on jerky 2000 years ago.

In my opinion, you have to use some common sense. If yogurt or sour cream are still white, I use them. If greens are still green and not slimy, I still use them.
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Old 05-27-2008, 11:12 AM   #4
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I agree with you on the foods. The expiration dates are just a guideline. They do not know what day the food will spoil. You need to use common sense with that. Jerky is preserved. it was crazy to throw that out.

With medication however, I pay attention to the expiration dates. I was actually just having this conversation with my mother as she hangs onto meds regardless of exp date. a week past the exp on meds is probably not a big deal, but meds break down and lose potency over time. There is a danger that you would take the expired meds and not get a full dose so you would not feel better. Some people might then take more to help them feel better and end up getting a larger dose than they should.
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Old 05-27-2008, 11:15 AM   #5
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I use expiration dates as "guides." Most things in our house get used up within a reasonable time prior to the expire date but, if they're still around a while after, I still use/eat them.

She threw jerky out? What would she have done if she'd made her own jerky? That doesn't come with an expiration date.

As for OTC medications, yes, we probably have some that are past their prime, but I'm not going to let it get me. One of these days I'll get around to going through the medicine cabinets to purge outdated stuff. Whenever.
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Old 05-27-2008, 11:18 AM   #6
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i throw stuff like meat & milk out when it smells, & meds i keep till they're gone.
my Mom was trying to throw away stuff i wanted. like my macaroni & cheese. my Grandfather has a list of storage dates fer stuff. pasta is supposed to keep fer ages! i let her throw it out to appease her. then there was my flour..... i'd just dredged with that flour.....
i'm with you, lefse.

wait, an item i'll toss- cosmetics. if they're iffy, i introduce them to my trashcan.
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Old 05-27-2008, 11:19 AM   #7
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I think your kids are confusing an "expiration date" and a "sell-by" date in most of these cases.

Most foods have "sell-by" dates which are not necessarily meant to be indicative of the food being unsafe or unhealthy or unpleasant to eat subsequant to that date. Common sense should dictate that baby greens, for example, that are not slimy or darkening after the sell-by date are perfectly fine to eat.

Medication is different though. Those are expiration dates. They indicate that efficacy of the med will be compromised after that date. That may not be a huge deal with over-the-counter medications, but can be a very real problem with prescription drugs. IMO that's why the nurse SIL is focusing on it.
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Old 05-27-2008, 11:21 AM   #8
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If something is obviously bad, I'll toss it. Everything else is fair game.

I'm still eating Kraft mac that expired last spring. Mmmmm.
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Old 05-27-2008, 01:56 PM   #9
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I read that iron is another exception, in the medicine category. However, I'm sure there is a big period of time allowed as a safety measure. I couldn't imagine that a medicine that expires today is going to be safe today and dangerous tomorrow! As for foods, as long as it looks/feels/smells/tastes okay, I'll eat it.

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Old 05-27-2008, 02:22 PM   #10
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I use them as a guide too. For food, the only thing I really pay attention
to the expiration date for is MILK. It gets one day... maybe...
past the date. Spoiled milk is just too traumatic!

Everything else is negotiable.

As for meds, I generally give them 6 months at the most.

I also am a big Exp Date checker in stores. I like to pull from the back, and
don't hesitate to "complain" to store employees about expired dates.

Conversely... much of the packaged vegetables, meat and fish I buy is
"close dated" and price reduced. I find the vegetables to usually have at least
5 days left in them, and proteins get frozen.

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