Nutrition and DietFoods that can be eaten even if they have expired

Foods that can be eaten even if they have expired

Foods like yogurt or honey can be safely eaten even if they are out of date.

Believe it or not, there are a large number of foods that can be safely consumed even if they are out of date. That is, despite the expiration date having passed and a few days, weeks or even months have passed since then. Basically, the vast majority are those foods and food products that have what is known as a preferred consumption date, and not an expiration date. But what are they? Is it safe, then, to consume them even if the expiration or preferred consumption date has been met?

There are certain foods about which we have to take special care, and maintain some caution regarding the optimal date of consumption. They are, for the most part, those that generally have a certain expiration date, which means that within that period said food can be safely consumed. However, once out of date, they can become a real health hazard, especially if it is a perishable food. Therefore, we must pay special attention to foods such as fresh meat and fish, dairy products, eggs and vegetables.

In the particular case of fresh meat and fish bought at the fishmonger or butcher shop, it is evident that they will not have an expiration date printed on the packaging. Therefore, we must take some precaution and always consume them within 2 days in the case of fish, and 3 in the case of meat.

The same does not happen with foods that have a preferred consumption date. This date indicates the time in which the food product will conserve its different organoleptic qualities well (that is, smell, texture, taste, etc.), so after this date its consumption will not pose a risk to health. It could only happen that its properties are altered, and its texture or flavor have changed a little.

What foods can be eaten expired and safely?

As we indicated at the beginning, in reality there is a wide variety of foods that can be eaten safely, without danger and without risks, although we observe on their labeling that they are out of date. Obviously, as we also mentioned, we must differentiate between those that have an expiration date and those that have a preferred consumption date. Thus, if there is an expiration date, it must always be respected, and the food should be discarded when it has been met. While, in the case of preferential consumption, we can consume it even if days or a few weeks have passed.

And what are those foods? Take note:

  • Yogurts: Unlike other dairy products, yogurts have a preferred consumption date since March 2014. Since the live ferments present in the composition of the yogurt act and acidify it, if they have been well refrigerated, their consumption after the date is not dangerous. It can only happen that the flavor is somewhat more acidic.
  • Jams and preserves:  Due to their high sugar content, the growth of pathogens in them is not so easy, especially if they are kept well preserved. Fruit jams usually last between 3 to 6 months, and preserves can last up to a year.
  • Honey: It happens the same as with jams. Due to its high sugar content, it tends to stay in perfect condition even if months go by without having consumed it. It can only happen that it has crystallized. This does not mean that it is in bad shape. To return it to its liquid state, you just have to put the honey jar (as long as it is glass) in the oven for a few minutes, or heat it in a bain-marie.
  • Canned fish:  Provided they are well stored, they can be safely consumed.
  • Other foods:  As long as the storage is adequate, there are other foods that can be consumed out of date. This is the case of dry pasta, legumes and nuts. And, also, some less healthy products such as chips, buns and cookies, and soft drinks.

Foods that never, never expire

Although the taste or aroma of some foods may be affected and worsen or change when the best before date has passed, there are others that never expire. In fact, you might be surprised to find that they even have an expiration or best-before date on their packaging.

This is the case of kitchen salt and sugar, in addition to vinegar, alcoholic beverages or confectionery products.


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