Can I eat a ready meal 4 days out of date?

This article will answer the following question: Can I eat a ready meal 4 days out of date? We will speak about the differences between the expiration date and best before date, and tell you how long after out of date you can eat certain products. 

Can I eat a ready meal 4 days out of date?

No, you cannot and you should not eat a ready meal 4 days out of date. Nobody likes to throw food away, but it is usually done with many products to fear eating something in bad condition. 

The expiration date indicates how long an opened food maintains its specific properties if it is preserved properly. That is, until when the color, aroma, taste, and nutritional values are the same as when you bought it.

The expiration date is the responsibility of the companies, and they calculate it with a certain margin. Therefore, many foods can still be consumed even if it has expired. 

However, some foods, such as fresh chicken or fish, or minced meat, have an expiration date and should not be confused with the preferred consumption date. Products that have an expiration date can quickly grow bacteria after expiration, so they should not be eaten.

But how long does food last? Milk, if unopened, can be consumed up to three days after its expiration date. Eggs can be used up to two weeks later, although they should only be cooked or baked and not eaten raw. Flour, rice, and noodles can be used up to several months after the expiration date if stored in a dry place.

Expired dairy products are recognizable by their bad smell. Mold indicates that the bread cannot be eaten anymore. You have to throw away the bread even if it’s only half moldy. Eating moldy bread can lead to gastrointestinal issues, including vomiting.

Some types of cheeses, such as Roquefort, have fungi because they are part of their maturation. But if additional reddish, greenish, or gray fungi appear on the cheese, throw it away. The same applies to apples in bad conditions.

Difference between expiration date and preferred consumption date

The expiration date and best before use are very different concepts. The expiration date is more restrictive and is marked with a specific day. Those that carry it are microbiologically perishable foods and can cause food poisoning. Once this expiration date has passed, they cannot be consumed.

In the case of more durable foods, the concept of “best before” applies. The manufacturer guarantees that the product maintains its organoleptic, flavor, odor, and texture characteristics, until that date, provided it is kept in the conditions recommended on the labeling. The problem is that most consumers often confuse the two terms.

How long after the expiration, can you eat food?

Dairy products

-Milk: unopened or already opened, and in the refrigerator, it is kept in good condition for 5 to 7 days after the expiration date.

-Butter: unopened and in the refrigerator, keeps up to 1 month after the expiration date. In the freezer, 6 to 9 months. Once opened, two weeks in the refrigerator and 6 to 9 months in the freezer.

-Soft cheese: unopened and in the refrigerator, keeps 1 to 2 weeks after the expiration date. In the freezer, 6 months.

Protein

-Meat: raw and in the refrigerator, lasts 1 to 2 days after expiration, and 6 to 8 months in the freezer. Cooked, it will keep 7 days after the refrigerator’s expiration date and 6 to 8 months in the freezer.

-Fish: same as raw meat.

-Ham: unopened, kept in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks after expiration, and for 6 to 8 months in the freezer. Open, 7 to 10 days in the refrigerator, and 6 to 8 months in the freezer.

Fruits

-Apple: 2 to 4 weeks in the pantry and 1 to 2 months in the refrigerator.

-Banana: 2 to 7 days in the pantry, 2 to 9 in the refrigerator, and 2 to 3 months in the freezer.

-Lemon: 2 to 4 weeks in the pantry and 1 to 2 months in the refrigerator.

Carbohydrates

-Bread: the bakery lasts in the pantry for 2 to 3 days after expiration and 6 months in the freezer. The packaged one, 5 to 7 days after expiration in the pantry and 6 months in the freezer.

-Pasta: dry before being cooked, lasts 1 to 2 years after expiration. Cooked, it lasts 4 to 5 days after expiration in the refrigerator and 6 to 8 months in the freezer.

-Cookies: Oreo lasts 2 to 3 weeks after expiration.

Drinks

-Beer: unopened and in the pantry, it can be kept for 6 to 9 months after the expiration date. In the refrigerator, up to 2 years.

-Coffee: beans, stored in the pantry, lasts 6 to 9 months after the expiration date. In the freezer, 2 to 3 years. In the case of instant coffee, it lasts from 2 to 20 years and indefinitely in the freezer. Once opened, the times are the same, only starting to count from the moment of opening, not from the expiration date.

– Soda: unopened and in the pantry or refrigerator, lasts 6 to 9 months after the expiration date. Once opened and canned, 1 day. Bottled, 1 to 3 days in the pantry, and up to 5 in the refrigerator.

If you ate a ready meal 4 days out of date

If you decided to eat a ready meal 4 days out of date and have more than 3 of the following symptoms: 

  • stomach cramps
  • diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • nausea
  • fever

You should immediately contact your doctor or emergency department because you may have a foodborne illness. 

The bottom line

This article answered the following question: Can I eat a ready meal 4 days out of date? We spoke about the differences between the expiration date and best before date and told you how long after eating certain products. 

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

References

WebMD.com

Who.int

Foodsafety.gov

Avatar

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *