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Really dangerous? These Facts About Expired Foods

The fact of expired food may not be widely known. When you choose food or drinks at the supermarket, you may always pay attention to the expiration date printed on the packaging. Likewise when you want to serve food at home. When the expiration date has passed, you will automatically discard it.

Many people think that expired food is the same as poison food. Clearly, everyone avoids this possibility. However, is it true that the expiration date should be used as a reasonable benchmark for whether or not the food is consumed? Learn the facts about these expired foods.

Food fact has expired
The United States Department of Agriculture says expired food stays safe and healthy if stored properly until decomposition actually occurs.

Rotten food will change the smell, taste, or texture due to naturally occurring spoilage bacteria. If these characteristics appear, food should not be eaten.

Microorganisms, such as fungi, yeast, and bacteria can multiply and cause rotten food. Meanwhile, the virus can not develop in food and will not make food rotten.

There are two types of bacteria that can be found in food, namely:

Pathogenic bacteria, causing foodborne illness.
Rotting bacteria, does not cause disease, but raises certain unpleasant characteristics.
Spoilage bacteria do not cause disease, but make food conditions worsen and cause characteristics, such as unwanted taste or odor, thus making food unhealthy.

When spoilage bacteria get nutrients (from food), humidity, time, and supportive temperature, this allows it to grow and affect food quality.

Damage to expired food occurs much faster if it is not properly stored and handled. Discoloration of meat or poultry is not an indicator of spoilage.

What does the date label mean on the packaging?
Generally, foods such as meat, poultry, eggs, and milk have an expiration date. However, the date is not always about spoilage or food expiration.

Some dates only inform retailers about the best freshness, taste, texture of a product. The following types of labels are on the product packaging:

Date label "sell by"

This label indicates how long the store should display the product on the shelf, not about expired food. However, food is still safe to eat until a few days after this date if you store it well.

Date label "best if used by"
This label is from the factory. That is, the product is in the best condition in terms of taste and texture if you consume it on this date. However, this date does not lead to food safety.

Date label "use by"
The factory also included this label to explain the best quality product. After this date, the taste, texture, and quality may decline, but not necessarily with safety.

Date label "expiration"
This label is the only date related to food safety. If this date has passed, you may throw away the food.

How long is the food safe to eat?
After looking at the facts of expired food, it is no less important to know the general rules for keeping food safe for consumption. The following explanation:
  • Milk is generally safe for consumption a week after the "sell by" date on the packaging.
  • Eggs are safe for 3-5 weeks after you take them home (assuming you buy them before the "sell by" date on the packaging.
  • Poultry and seafood are safe if cooked or frozen in one to two days.
  • Beef is safe if cooked or frozen in three to five days.

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