I've found that 20 states require food to have dates but can't find out which ones are part of the 20. These cans are only 25 to 50 cents cheaper per can. The store has a sign up that says all sales final and I have purchased some things that had to be thrown away.
By Conway from Mississippi
There is a site with more information: www.foodreference.com; Information on food safety on canned goods. How to read the codes and what they mean.
I don't know about the laws, but I too would NOT shop there if they didn't take the "bad" stuff back. I also make it a habit, if I can't figure out the date that IS on a can (some sort of code), I call the manufacturer right then and there and query the item. Most manufacturers now have recordings that tell you what their "codes" are. I don't know why they can't just put the date up-front! and I always check the dates having found many items out of date at quality stores!
I won't even buy a loaf of bread in the grocery store without an expiration date. I don't think I would shop there anymore; especially if they have a no refund policy for bad food. I don't feel their "savings" are worth the risk.
There are no federal laws that I am aware of requiring expiration dates on canned goods, except for infant formula and baby food. Other laws vary by state, usually in regards to dairy and egg products. Some deviled ham companies claim it is safe to eat their products a decade or more after the expiration! Although they also make sure to state that the quality of appearence and flavor are not guaranteed past the date. In the end though, I feel it's best to go with your own common sense. If it smells bad, tastes funny, or has a bulging and dented can, probably wise to leave it alone. We are all ultimately responsible for our own and families safety.
Last week I found a can of deviled ham in my Grandparents basement and ate it. Supposedly it was over fifteen years old. It tasted as good as "fresh" deviled ham-terribly salty.
Usually these date codes can easily be taken off with either rubbing alcohol or fingernail polish remover. I found this out when I spilled some rubbing alcohol on my can of pop. The ink on the number ran all over my counter top. So it can be done. But would they dare? Well, maybe, if they were greedy & thought they could make an extra buck.
Also, I hate to even mention it, but in my area these types of stores are usually ran by well, lets just say (at the risk of being not-politically correct) people not originally born in America & possibly unaware of the rules. (Or maybe just don't care about them).This does not mean there aren't many amazing new Americans running wonderful businesses here. It's just that these days it seems everyone is trying to make a buck. Some by hurting others. But I believe that most people are true, honest & good!
* I believe it's the law that all can's & packages must have a date code. If you can't find one, show these cans to the owner or manager & tell him you're going to report it to the health department. (whether your are or aren't). This should shake them up & make them think twice if they really are removing them! But first ask him nicely, if he can help you find the date-code. Maybe it's there but you just don't see it? Let's hope so.
I don't think laws would allow dated foods to have the dates taken or scratched out.I do know that in my experience in retail, many canned foods are dated, but using a Julienne dating system, which consists of numbers, letters, etc. The time, date, batch, plant # is usually in the date when they use this system. Going online, I'm sure anyone can find a conversion chart or something to help you read Julienne dates.
Sometimes my MIL gets food from food pantries. One recent 'trip' has a can of red peppers from Turkey with the date of 09/02 on it. She and my DH think the can is safe since it is not bulging out. I think quite differently, due to being the daughter of nurses, lol!
I just want to know if it's safe or not.
Theresa from Cleburne, TX
My thought is this, "Is it worth it if it isn't safe? Is the money you saved going to be worth getting sick if it is not safe?". (03/26/2007)
I agree that you could open it and look at the contents, smell it and take a small taste. Unless the can is damaged, you shouldn't be harmed by what's inside but it might be past its prime as far as taste.
Hope this helps,
But put the expiration date aside. Proper canning procedures kill any possible contaminants. Without bulging or leaking, the food is safe to eat. It may not look or taste the best, but will be safe none-the-less.
Why don't you just call the place that distributed the food to your MIL and question the date on the can? I'm sure they can give you more info both on this and in the future to alleviate potential concerns.
Oh yes -- I've returned to school after being out 25 years. Although I worked in the medical field and kept up with information, I was shocked to learn how many things I was once taught as gospel truth that are now obsolete--even though they are still being repeated by physicians and nurses across the country. A medical degree doesn't make anyone an expert. Research is rapidly changing many formerly held ideas. (03/27/2007)
However, I lost my sense of smell some years ago due to a hard blow to the head which severed the nerves to my nose so I try to be as careful as I can be. My favorite comment in this thread is, "When in doubt, throw it out!". I'm sure I've tossed out some good food, but I've had food poisoning before and trust me, you don't want it. Mine was from some bad hot dogs though, not from canned goods, but I thought for sure I was going to die! (04/17/2007)
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