Can you eat expired boxed foods?

This brief guide will address the question, “can you eat expired boxed foods?” We will also discuss the “Are dates used to determine food safety or quality?”, “What Do Date Labels Mean?” “Which foods can you eat after the expiry date?” and “How to avoid wasting food?”

Can you eat expired boxed foods?

According to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), with the exception of infant formula, if a product’s expiration date has passed during home storage, expired foods should still be safe and wholesome until spoilage becomes apparent if handled appropriately.

Are dates used to determine food safety or quality?

Manufacturers give food dates to assist consumers and retailers in determining when food is at its best. Except for infant formula, dates are not a reliable indicator of product safety and are not required by federal law.

What Do Date Labels Mean?

  • A “Best if Used By/Before” date indicates when a product’s flavor or quality will be at its best. A “Best if Used By/Before” date isn’t a purchase or expiry date.
  • A “Sell-By” date advises the business on how long to show the product for sale for the supply chain management. It isn’t a safety precaution.
  • The “Use-By” date is the last date recommended for using the product while still in good condition. Except when used on infant formula, it is not a safety date.
  • A “Freeze-By” date specifies when a product should be frozen in order to maintain maximum quality. A “Freeze-By” date isn’t a purchase or expiration date.

Which foods can you eat after the expiry date?

  • Cake mix: If you store the cake mix in a cold, dry place, you can use it for another four to five months after the expiration date.
  • Hard cheeses: Hard cheeses can usually be eaten for a month after they have passed their expiration date.
  • Eggs: Eggs are another item that isn’t usually consumed before their expiration date. By testing buoyancy, you tell if eggs are spoiled without splitting them open by placing them in a water bowl. It’s still safe to eat if it sinks; toss it in the compost bin if it floats.
  • Bread: As long as there is no mold forming on the grains, they should be okay to eat.
  • Butter: If your butter is about to expire, put it in the freezer to extend its life.
  • Dry pasta: Pasta is a dry product that does not spoil readily. Dry pasta has a two-year shelf life on average, but it may usually be extended to three.
  • Frozen foods: Because ice-cold temperatures keep foods from spoiling, any packed frozen foods can be eaten past their expiration date.
  • Chocolate: Depending on the grade, storage, and whether or not the container is opened, chocolate can last well past its best before date.
  • Cookies, Crackers, and Chips
  • Honey: Honey is famous for its seemingly endless shelf life. If honey is exposed to moisture, it will spoil.
  • Pickled Items: Pickled cucumbers, peppers, beets, and other vegetables can be preserved in the refrigerator or pantry for one to two years after their best before date, whether opened or unopened. They might lose their crispness with time, but they are still edible. 

How to avoid wasting food?

  • Make it frozen. Freezing is a fantastic technique to slow down the aging process and extend the life of goods that might otherwise spoil or be discarded. Bacteria and other diseases cannot develop in freezing temperatures. 
  • Natural decay does not cause foodborne diseases. Bacteria thrive in contaminated food, so make sure it’s properly stored. Extending the shelf life by proper refrigeration is possible.
  • Improve your storing conditions procedures to extend the life of your product. 

Some examples are:

  • Using a damp paper towel to wrap broccoli stalks
  • Using aluminum foil to store celery
  • Adding asparagus to a cup of water
  • You can compost fruit and packaged items like bread when it’s time to get rid of any food you didn’t eat. Composting is similar to recycling in that you use your food rather than wasting it away. 
  • Toss away food that has been left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. To avoid contamination, keep leftovers soon after preparing a meal. You can also keep your worktops and food preparation surfaces clean and bacteria-free. 
  • Refreezing thawed food is not recommended.

Conclusion

This brief guide addressed the query, “can you eat expired boxed foods?” We also discussed the “Are dates used to determine food safety or quality?”, “What Do Date Labels Mean?” “Which foods can you eat after the expiry date?” and “How to avoid wasting food?”

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them.

References

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/food-safety-and-storage
https://www.who.int/
https://www.foodnetwork.ca/article/10-foods-you-can-eat-after-the-expiry-date/
https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/food-product-dating
https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/shopping-storing/food/food-expiration-dates-guidelines-chart
https://www.consumerreports.org/food-safety/how-to-tell-whether-expired-food-is-safe-to-eat-a1083080425/
https://www.insider.com/foods-you-can-ignore-expiration-dates-2018-11#bread-is-usually-fine-to-eat-if-you-don’t-see-any-mold-12

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.