Expired Food: Which Ones Can Still Be Eaten?

According to the French Ministry of Agriculture, more than one million tons of food still consumable is thrown away every year in France. Part of this enormous food waste could be avoided if the expiration dates were extended. Indeed, in the current system, some expired food can still be consumed. We explain you how to distinguish the consumable expired foods from those which should not be eaten because they present a risk for the health.

What expired foods can be consumed?

The first category of food that can be consumed after the expiration date is dried foods such as dried cookies, dried vegetables such as chickpeas and lentils, pasta, rice, or freeze-dried soups in bags.

The date that appears on the package is a date of minimum durability (DDM) and appears after the phrase preferably use by...

There is nothing to prohibit consuming this product beyond the date, provided that its packaging is not damaged. Moreover, to prevent these products from being invaded by food moths capable of piercing the cardboard packaging, it is best to keep them in airtight containers.

The same goes for cans, which are long-life products. But be careful! You should not eat the contents if the can is bulging as this may be a sign of bacterial contamination.

Sugar and honey have no shelf life and can be eaten without risk because they are both very stable foods. The same goes for salt, white vinegar as well as cornstarch and cornstarch.

What foods lose quality over time?

Spices and dried herbs too can be consumed long after their expiration date. The only risk is that they have lost their flavor...

As for oil, it can be consumed after its expiration date without health hazards, but it may have a rancid taste or an unpleasant odor. To prevent its taste from being altered over time, it is important to keep it cool and away from light.

Other expired products that are still consumable are :
- chocolate: when it starts to whiten on the surface, it means that the product starts to lose its taste but it does not present a health risk

- coffee: it too can be kept for a long time, but it may lose its aroma over time. To preserve its taste qualities, it is recommended to keep it in the refrigerator.

- frozen products: after the expiration date, they lose some of their taste qualities, but they are not dangerous provided that the cold chain has not been broken. Never refreeze a product that has thawed.

- Yogurts: they can be consumed without risk from 1 to 3 weeks after the date on the package if they have been kept in a cool place.

- UHT milk: this milk has been pasteurized and can therefore be drunk up to 2 months after the expiration date. It may then lose its vitamin and mineral content and take on a slightly more acidic taste.

- eggs can be consumed up to 4 weeks after the date on the carton, if their shells are not damaged and have not been made porous by water.

To note: to check if an expired egg is still edible, simply dip it in a bowl of cold water. If it falls to the bottom of the container, it is still good to eat.

What expired foods should you avoid eating?

Other products on the other hand are not consumable after the date indicated on the package because they are highly perishable.

In this case, the statement on the package is a use-by date or BBD indicated by the phrase use by.

It is very important to respect this imperative deadline to avoid food poisoning caused by various bacteria.

The expired foods that you should definitely not eat are:
- meat, especially ground red meat which carries a risk of developing bacteria such as salmonella, listeria or staphylococcus
- fish: fresh fish should be eaten the same day or the next day at the latest
- cold cuts, which carry a risk of salmonella
- ready-made meals

Remember that deli meats bought by the cut must always be eaten the same day and that meat ground by the butcher must be eaten within 12 hours.

Also beware of expired cheeses if they are raw milk cheeses not pasteurized. For other cheeses, it is possible to consume them up to one week after the expiration date.

On cheese or any other food, if traces of mold appear on the surface of the product, it is best to avoid eating it.

Author: Audrey
Copyright image: Free US Government Image
Tags: food, taste, HEALTH, water, Pasteurized, meat, packaging, bacteria, cornstarch, salmonella, egg, porous, shells, eggs, acidic, Mineral, spices, Milk, UHT milk, cold chain, edible, dip, COLD, mold, Cheese, Raw milk, deli meats, ready-made meals, cold cuts, fish, Staphylococcus, Listeria, red meat, food poisoning, imperative, BBD, container, refrigerator, aroma, coffee, airtight, cardboard, piercing, DDM, freeze-dried, rice, pasta, lentils, chickpeas, cookies,
In French: Aliments périmés : lesquels peut-on encore consommer ?
En español: Alimentos caducados: ¿cuáles se pueden seguir consumiendo?
In italiano: Cibi scaduti: quali si possono ancora mangiare?
Auf Deutsch: Abgelaufene Lebensmittel: Welche kann man noch essen?
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