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Food Expiration Dates You Should Stick To

by Niharika Nayak

We get it, sometimes you just don’t have the time to throw out those extra two slices of bread, or you’re too lazy to throw out that six-month-old mayonnaise. If you’re the type of person who thinks the sniff test and a slight visual scan are more than enough to judge if a food item is expired or not, you should probably think twice. Looks and scents can often be pretty deceiving (smelling your milk before you gulp it down isn’t the smartest of ideas), which is why those expiry dates that have been stamped on the packaging can lead you down the correct path and help prevent you from falling prey to illnesses.

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From creamy cheese to potato salads, it’s important to toss these food items into the trash once they’re past their given termination date:

Mayonnaise

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Who doesn’t love seasoning their sandwiches with this creamy spread caking it? You probably think your favorite glass jar of mayo is going to give you a good 6 to 8 months once refrigerated, right? Wrong. While it is easy to lose store-bought mayonnaise at the back of your fridge, most people recommend chucking it into the trash after three to four months. Even if it is refrigerated, you cannot stop bacteria from transferring into the condiment. It’s very easy for bacteria to transfer into mayonnaise through a butter knife or spoon when you apply it onto your bread. Hence, the fast expiry date.

Soft Cheeses

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Cheeses that are harder like cheddar or Gouda have a more extended time frame in the refrigerator since it is progressively more challenging for microscopic organisms and mold to permeate into them. When opened, however, hard and processed cheeses last around three weeks to about a month. Be that as it may, softer cheeses like ricotta, cream cheddar, or goat cheese, are increasingly vulnerable to bacteria and ought to be tossed out whenever there’s any hint of mold or when it is clearly past the expiry date.

Fresh Berries

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Whether the berries are store-bought or fresh from the farmer’s market, it’s safe to say that they have a shorter lifespan than most fruits. Raspberries and strawberries are usually suitable for consumption three days after you have purchased it. It’s a good idea to immediately refrigerate berries that you cannot consume in that time frame.

Fish

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Fish is just as prone to bacteria as meat and should be consumed in one or two days after being purchased. Most people suggest wrapping it up in a moisture-proof freezer paper or foil and leaving it in the freezer. This increases its lifespan to three months and sometimes even longer.

Fresh Meat

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Fresh meat usually has a sell-by date which lets the store know till what date the meat can be sold. This means that as soon as you pick up the meat, you’re supposed to store it in the fridge. Some stores play a cheap trick where they discount meats that are closer to their sell-by dates just to get rid of the product asap. A lot of fresh raw meat can also be contaminated by E. coli, salmonella, and other bacteria. Keeping that in mind, it’s essential to cook the meat at the right temperature to act as a good defense against bacteria.

Cold-Pressed Juice

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Green juices might be all over your Instagram feed day to day, however, but a raw version should not be a permanent addition to your fridge. Natural, untreated juices are unbelievably well known among the health-conscious community because they’re incredibly thick. However, it’s essential to consume them well before their expiry dates, unlike processed juices that can be stored for extended periods. As processed juices have preservatives and other things present in them, they aren’t as prone to bacteria. This can broaden the time span of usability of the juice to around 30 days, and they’re typically fine when refrigerated appropriately for five days after being opened.

Potato Salad

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Just like jar spreads, potato salads are very prone to developing bacterial growth as they have higher chances of exposure. Once your potato salad has been contaminated, you’re at a higher risk of acquiring food poisoning. Experts warn that one needs to be extra cautious with temperature changes when it comes to salads as some ingredients are still raw and uncooked. Three to five days are the usual expiry dates, and it’s recommended not to exceed that deadline.

All in all, it’s a smart option to check the expiry date of every product you purchase to protect yourself from an embarrassing trip to the doctor. What did you think of the list? Do you need to empty out your fridge?

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Niharika Nayak

Niharika has a passion for all things art, music and travel. During her spare time she likes experimenting in the kitchen, painting pop culture icons and chasing after random street cats. Her dream is to one day own an amusement park so she can ride roller coasters for free.