The truth is, it can be difficult to know when food has expired and must be tossed in the garbage disposal and when it’s safe for eating. Safety is the number one priority; however, the US voluntarily throws away about 40 percent of the overall food every year. According to USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), this adds up to just a hair over $160 billion wasted annually.
Tossed Expired Food Costs As Much as the GDP of Kazakhstan
Tossing off food seems costly, right?
There are a number of foods you are likely holding on to past their prime. Though expiration dates should always be taken with a grain of salt, they are not regulated.
Expired Foods – ‘Use By’ or ‘Best Buy’ Dates For Highest Quality
The “use by” or “best by” date usually tells you when the product will be at its highest quality. Whether some of the ingredients are still safe to eat or not, you can easily notice a change in color, texture, and taste (eek).
The age-old cumin and coriander won’t kill you. However, they will lack flavor. This is a bummer when you consider that spices are meant to do exactly the opposite. Spices lose potency and flavor over time, and this period is significantly shorter than you might think.
This is a person’s bigger safety issue. The vacuum-sealed plastic packaging leads us to believe that turkey, roast beef, and deli ham, and so on are okay to eat for weeks on end. But most sliced meat makers, including big brands, say that their products are only at optimal freshness for three days after purchase. They are safe to eat for around a week or so; however, if you sense any unpleasant odors, especially those of yeast, vinegar, or ammonia, or see slimy textures or mold on your meat, discard it immediately.
Garlic must be kept in a cool, dark, and dry place in your pantry. Naturally, some of us forget exactly how long it’s been sitting there. Generally, garlic will be fine: a whole head of garlic, untouched and unpeeled, should last for six months. Garlic cloves – unpeeled, single – are good for three weeks. If it’s minced, it will start to turn into a few hours.
If you still have your mayo jar from your Fourth of July potato salad sitting on the fridge, please, oh please, throw it away and buy a smaller jar next summer. According to the USDA, mayonnaise is only safe to eat for two months after the container has been opened.
Egg Substitutes/Liquid Eggs
Unopened egg substitutes and liquid eggs usually last for months. However, if you break the seal for breakfast on Monday, expect them to go bad on Thursday at best. According to research, opened containers of liquid eggs are best when used in three days. They should not be frozen.
You are probably eating your bread after the expiration date of the loaf has passed, and it’s relatively fine. If something is not broken, you should not fix it. If your bread is starting to go stale, you can choose a recipe online and use it in a delicious way instead of throwing it away. If you want to extend its shelf life, packaged bread stays fresh for three months or even longer if put in the freezer.