Most people don’t knowingly risk food poisoning by eating expired food, but almost all of us have experienced it at some point. It’s so horrible that we don’t even want to talk about those dark 24 hours spent hovering over the toilet. But at the same time, Americans waste an insane amount of food every year, and part of that is “expired” food that is actually still perfectly fine to eat.
Food manufacturers put expiration dates on food to protect themselves in the event that someone becomes sick after eating their product. But that’s not the only reason. Those “Best By” dates usually refer to the range in which the manufacturer thinks their food tastes the best, not when the food becomes unsafe.
As consumers, we are taught to trust that the people who prepare our food have our safety at heart. And sure, that’s part of it. But often these companies simply want us to buy more of their products because we felt compelled to throw away perfectly good food.
When it comes to what is safe to eat, a little bit of knowledge and common sense goes a long way. For example, improper handling at any point can actually cause food to go bad before the listed date. We are going to break down some general rules for food safety that you can use to decide whether or not to toss that expired food, including some surprising foods that should always be tossed by the expiration date.