Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Expiration Nation

Do you eat expired food?

For how long after the expiration date do you find consumption acceptable? 

Are men or women more accepting of old food?  Or is it a personality differential more so than gender?

I've always had a weak stomach.  I can't handle suspicious meat or things like chicken on the bone.  I particularly can't get over my mental block when I see an expiration date on a food item.

Last night, I poured myself a bowl of cereal at my beau's house.  I sat down next to him and, after my first bite, exclaimed, "Is your milk expired?  It tastes funny."   He assured me it was not and I kept on eating, all the while thinking, "Man, it must be this cereal that is bad - this tastes weird."  He asked me how it was afterwards and I said that I certainly wouldn't be buying it again. 

Flash forward to this afternoon.  My beau has picked up on my lack of ability to take lunch breaks lately (the past three months), so invited me over for a delicious black bean burger.  How could I refuse? 

I pull out the ketchup and mustard.  None of us like mustard or ketchup pee, so I shook the bottles...and something wasn't quite right...I could just tell the liquid inside wasn't shaking correctly at the consistency of which I'd experienced in the past.  One look at the expiration date and the mystery was solved - the mustard was more than two years past the date.  The ketchup?  More than three years past the date. 

Now, you may be thinking the same thing I was..."Oh no...the milk."  Sure enough, a week past the expiration date.  I knew it didn't taste right! 

Yes, I am still alive.  Did it hurt me?  No, but it certainly grossed me out and certainly prompted him to tell me I'm too picky.  I admit, I'm a picky eater in regards to what I eat.  Do I care if he eats expired food?  Nope, not at all - kudos to anyone who has a stronger stomach than I.  

I digress back to my original question - do you eat expired food?  How expired is too expired?


Unknown said...

I don't think ketchup and mustard would bother me as they are so intensely preserved... but I have an intense reaction to old dairy products. I won't even taste them or smell them to check. Once that date is past... I can't touch it.

Janell said...

How little tolerance I have for expired milk varies by brand. Some I can barely take the day before the expiration date, others I can manage it up to two days past the date. I might bake with milk three days past, but that's the absolute limit. A week? Impossible.

Other foods it completely depends. Ketchup and mustard probably have a month or two wiggle room for me, but not beyond that. Mayo and Miracle whip have no wiggle room whatsoever. In my world, pickles are good until they're too soft to be tasty.

Aaron said...

Perfect timing for this post. Becca and I had sushi last night, and I brought my leftovers to work today. I'd planned on eating it as a snack, but most of the office is giving me grief about it not being safe... Oh the dilemma!

miss kristen said...

I'm right with you. Some things I think the expiration date as more of a guideline rather than a finite rule-dry goods, condiments, things that cant possibly spoil the day after the date on the bottle. Things like dairy, meat, canned goods, etc, you better believe they're being chucked if they're past code. I've had a jar of pesto in my fridge forever because the date says it's good until March 2013, but I still can't bring myself to eat it OR throw it away. Because I've worked in foodservice SO long left overs only stay in my fridge a week-even if they still smell ok, things are only re-heated once and the remnants chucked, and I RARELY eat anything past code-even when I know perfectly well it's ok to eat.
Perfect solution to cure your beau of this: Have him take a serv-safe class. Once you learn what can and DOES grow in your food makes you look long and hard at what you're doing to put yourself in harm's way.
AARON!! You can't eat raw fish the next day! Mr Wonderful does the same thing and it makes me crazy!!!

S.R. Braddy said...

When I was in the Czech Republic, I had some lunch meat ON the expiration date. I promptly got food poisoning. So... no, I do not eat food after its expiration date anymore.

And my security word is "PMSSFUL," which surely means something disgusting.

Jon said...

I read all the comments and am laughing - mostly because I feel the opposite. Firstly, most foods have replaced the word "expiration" with "best by" or "sell by." That's because manufacturers recognize that while the flavor may have changed a little, the food itself isn't likely to hurt you for a certain amount of time after the specified date.
Second, the perish date on the container is more to protect the company's liability than a magic date when the food goes bad. If stored properly (right temperature, keep the lid on, etc.), the food will almost always be good at least until that day. Most times, it will stay good quite a bit later. Yogurt has a typical shelf life of about 25 days. But nearly all of my Dannon coworkers regularly ate yogurt that was 60 days old.
As for myself, if it's past the date on the container, I leave it up to a sniff test. If it passes, I have a small taste before putting it all over my food. I normally don't have a problem finishing off my milk a week before the exp date, but I've had milk a week after the exp date without thinking twice about it.

Rob Ferre said...

Geez what a loser. This guy keeps expired milk and expired condiments in his fridge. You better run away from this guy before he expires. It's only a matter of time until he turns sour.

Larissa said...

@Rob - he's already rotten. Spoiled Rotten. By his amazing girlfriend.