Expiration Dates on Food


When I buy yogurt, sour cream, pre-packaged deli meat, etc, I know they have an expiration date. Sometimes the date may be a month or two away. My question is, once I open sour cream (for example), is it still good till the expiration date or is that date more for purchasing? I don't want to throw away good food but I usually feel like the items are old within a week or so.




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By PammyD (Guest Post) 07/21/2005

On items such as cottage cheese, sour cream and yogurt; I have heard if you store them upside down, that they DO keep longer. I've tried this in the past and it actually works! Hope this helps.
Take care....

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By Joan in CT (Guest Post) 07/21/2005

Hi Ann,
The expiration dates are for the protection of the public. Stores cannot sell anything past its expire date. Yogurt is something which can be kept far past its expiration date at least a month. I do it all the time and it still tastes great. The expire date has nothing to do with how long the item will be good after opening. Once anything is opened, it only has a certain time amount to be used.

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By kidsNclutter 188 07/21/2005

Read somewhere that eggs can be used a few weeks (2-3) after the date on the carton. I've done it in the past w/ no ill effects. Anyone? But, did hear from others that they ate yogurt that was past the date & got very sick, which goes against what Joan in CT has experienced. I personally now toss the yogurt past it's date. I will use sour cream past its date & yes, storing this type of dairy carton upside down does seem to slow spoilage.

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By Holly 367 1,264 07/22/2005

Expiration dates are mandated by the gov't. because all foods have to have these dates.
Just taste the item and if it seems ok, then use it. Haven't we all had something whose expiration date and not yet occured, yet was already spoiled? Use your best judgement.

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By Ann (Guest Post) 07/23/2005

Thanks for the info guys!! As far as eggs go, I heard this tip before and use it all the time. To test eggs that are past the date on the carton for freshness, fill a bowl with cool salted water. If you put the egg in this and it sinks to the bottom, its fine. If it floats, its time to throw it out.

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By suzzanne (Guest Post) 01/22/2007

So if I buy a 16 oz container of yogurt and eat 2 ounces a day is it bad after the 7th day?

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By Tired of clueless bloggers (Guest Post) 03/12/2007

If you want facts or science-based information, go to authoritative sources (no matter what the topic). If people used these blogs to link to authoritative sources instead of making up facts, we would all be better off.

Below is a link to draw your own conclusions from. The short answer is except for a couple of products (e.g., baby formula), the federal government does not require dates. Some States require additional dating. Most of the dates are freshness or best-by dates voluntarily placed by manufacturers so their quality levels stays high and are used primary by manufacturers and retailers to rotate stock (i.e., newest to the back or bottom, old to the front or top).


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By Lisa (Guest Post) 10/22/2008

I have yoplait and goburts that say they expired on October 11,2008, they are obviously unopened and I had one today and it tasted fine. Should I be concerned giving these to my son?

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By Gloria. (Guest Post) 02/23/2009

What about cottage cheese? The date on the cottage cheese gives the date of when it is best to buy it. It does not give the expiration date. Is that the expiration date? And if it is, how long will it take till it spoils?

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By applesauce 8 55 11/01/2010

Upside down? I'll try it, thanks.

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By derotha kimbley 1 3 11/01/2010

Use your own judgment. You can tell by smelling or tasting if food has gone bad. I have even used mine a week past its expiration date. And you know how milk stinks if it is bad. I am 77 years old so I know what I am talking about. I have used a lot of foods past the expiration date and I am still kicking.

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By xintexas 28 395 11/01/2010

Expiration dates, best used by or sell by are for the public to know how old the items are. This does not mean that the items are bad or can't be eaten after that date. Just means use your best judgment. We all eat or buy bread past its date. I have eaten yogurt at least two months old. It looked good, smelled fine, and tasted fine and I was fine.

Dmkimbley AT aol.com is correct and has given good advice. Don't be so intimated by those dates. They are just guides to sell the products in a timely manner. Nobody wants to buy food off the shelf that is three years old, that is why it is dated.

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By Lilac 20 1,333 11/01/2010

Actually where dairy products are concerned, the date is the date they can no longet be sold by. They are good for ten days beyond that with good refrigeration and then out they go.

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By Pixiedust7 7 822 03/29/2011

I have used cream cheese that was unopened which had "use by" dates that had expired two years before. The cream cheese is tightly sealed & it was fine but once opened it spoiled a few days later if I didn't use it up. A new package of cream cheese won't spoil that quickly after it's opened. I have also used unopened packages of cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, yogurt and sour cream that were several months old but once opened they also spoiled within a few days. So that's the secret. It's still good when you open it, but use it up right away if it's not new. Eggs last at least a month.

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