Can you eat bacon past the use-by date?

In this article we are going to answer: can you eat bacon past the use-by date, what is the expiration date, what is the best-by date, what happens if you eat bacon after the use-by date, and how long does bacon last, and how to store bacon correctly. 

Can you eat bacon past the use-by date?

According to the USDA, if bacon is left unopened it can still be consumed seven days after the use-by or best-by date as long as it has been correctly stored in the refrigerator. Bacon has to be stored in the refrigerator once bought to prevent it from spoiling. 

What is the expiration date for bacon?

The expiration date in the product tells the consumer the last day a product is safe to consume. The expiration date is not in all products. It is required on certain products that have a specific nutritional composition that could change after the expiration date. 

The expiration date is required in some products such as

  • Liquid diets
  • Foods sold by a pharmacist
  • Meal replacements
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Infant formula 

If a product has passed the expiration date, it should not be consumed.

What is the best-by date for bacon?

Best by date or used-by date tells the consumer that food is no longer fresh or in the same shape such as texture and taste as when you bought it. It might lose some freshness, taste, aroma, or nutrients but it doesn’t mean that the product has gone bad and is no longer safe to eat. 

The safety, freshness, and taste of the products depend on how it has been stored. So, if the product has not been handled correctly, it can lose all its qualities long before the best-by date. 

What happens if you eat bacon after the use-by date?

If the bacon has not been handled and stored correctly or has passed more than 7 days after the use-by date there is a high risk of food poisoning. Bacon is a highly perishable food that if not handled correctly can go bad very fast. 

Food poisoning or also called foodborne illness is caused when you eat something that is contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Sometimes you don’t have to ingest the virus or bacteria, it is enough by eating their toxins to have symptoms of food poisoning. 

Symptoms might start within an hour of eating contaminated food. Symptoms include

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

The whole sickness caused by food poisoning can last one day to several days. Food poisoning is life-threatening to immune-suppressed patients, the elderly, pregnant women, and young children. 

The most common contaminants that can cause food poisoning by eating bacon or meat in a bad state are

  • Campylobacter: symptoms start from 2 to 5 days
  • E.coli: symptoms start from 1 to 8 days
  • Listeria: symptoms start from 9 to 48 hours 
  • Salmonella: symptoms start from 1 to 3 days

How long does bacon last?

Bacon has a very short shelf life because it does not have a lot of added ingredients. It can spoil very fast especially if it is not handled correctly or stored in the refrigerator at the correct temperature. Normally, bacon can last up to 7 days after the best-by or used-by date is refrigerated at 40 F. 

If bacon is stored in the freezer it can last up to 6 months. 

How to store bacon correctly?

Bacon should be stored in the refrigerator in the original package if left unopened. Once open, it should be stored in an airtight container or a plastic bag closed correctly to prevent moisture and contaminants. 

Bacon can be stored in the freezer if you are not going to use it right away. Wrap bacon in aluminum and then put it in a plastic bag. It can be frozen for about 6 months. 

Once cooked, bacon can last up to a week in an airtight container. 

Conclusion

This article answered can you eat bacon past the use-by date, what is the expiration date, what is the best-by date, what happens if you eat bacon after the use-by date, how long does bacon last, and how to store bacon correctly. 

Citation 

https://www.verymeaty.com/processed-meat/bacon/can-you-eat-bacon-past-its-use-by-date/

https://www.sciencealert.com/the-vast-majority-of-expiration-dates-are-completely-bogus-here-s-how-long-your-food-really-keeps-for

https://www.streetsmartkitchen.com/how-to-tell-if-bacon-is-bad/

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.