CharityBetter Living

Non-Food After Their Expiration Date

I think that stores should donate past date items to shelters and food banks. But, many of the donation places in my area won't take items that are past date. This is stupid and wasteful. Many people would be glad to have items and not care what the date is (me included). It is not true that past date (non food) items are dangerous. The Government would not allow something to be sold if it could poison anybody.


Old items just lose some of their effectiveness. If the consistency is good and it smells ok, go for it. Big companies want us to be wasteful so we will buy more of their products. They lie about products "going bad" so we waste and spend more money. I use toothpaste that is more than 10 years old because I was taught not to waste anything. It's fine, nothing wrong with it. Most products will separate if they are not usable anymore. I have also used 20 year old separated shampoo, just shake it up and go. If it smells funny, use it to clean the toilet. Everything has a use and should not be wasted.

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By Diane (Guest Post)
June 28, 20070 found this helpful

I agree with you wholeheartedly, Joy. You were so eloquent. I makes me physically ill seeing all the waste in the country and all the poor people that could benefit from it getting the benefits of post dated foods AND non-foods alike.

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By Linda in Alabama (Guest Post)
June 28, 20070 found this helpful

I agree with you too, Joy. However, I'm kind of glad the expiration date is on there so I can make my own decision if something has gone bad or not. I never throw things out past their expiration date, unless it has gone bad. Milk, for instance, isn't thrown out when it expires unless it smells bad, etc. I think one reason companies put expiration dates on their products might be because they are protecting themselves from lawsuits.


I think it is up to us to determine if something has "gone bad" or not. For instance, I used some frozen meatballs that had expired 8 months before. They were fine and tasted great -- I didn't tell my husband, though, because he would not have eaten them!!! Ha!

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June 28, 20070 found this helpful

Imo, I don't think we can blame the businesses, but rather, our current litigious society. I can only imagine all the lawsuits that would occur if expired items were allowed on the market.
For example, there's a woman currently suing a food manufacturer because she thinks Starburst Fruit Chews should come with a warning label because they are too chewy. Can you imagine what someone like her would do with an expired item? She'd think it was her "Golden Ticket" and sue everyone she could think of.

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By Jazzylazzy (Guest Post)
June 28, 20070 found this helpful

The food may still be edible as far as taste goes but the nutritional quality is gone and you are eating empty calories. You might as well eat the box. Food should not be consumed too long after the expiration date. Companies do want their product to have a long shelf life for our benetfit and theirs.

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June 30, 20070 found this helpful

I must say, I am rarely alarmed by anything I read on, but this post alarms me. Our friend is recommending eating food past its expiration date.


Millions of people in the US each year get food poisoning, and many of them call it "the flu" or "something I ate that disagreed with me." A few of them die.

Please, Susan, post one of your food expert's columns on food safety and expiration dates. I'd also like to know about the safety and effectiveness, after their expiration dates, of non-food products that we use frequently. Thank you very much.

Editor's Note: We'll work on an article about this.

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By Jenn (Guest Post)
July 1, 20070 found this helpful

I agree totally about NON-FOOD items... It doesn't mention using expired food items. I think that should be up to the individual. They only recently started puting expirations on food.

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July 29, 20070 found this helpful

Thanks for all the comments. But please read the post before commenting. The post title says in large letters NON-FOOD items.


I certainly don't wish to ALARM anyone. This is referring to toothpaste, shampoo, liquid soap, lotion, etc.

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By (Guest Post)
May 19, 20080 found this helpful

I agree with that completely as long as what you are using is free of harmful and toxic chemicals. Having non-food items that contain toxins in your home is releasing poisionous gases into your breathing air and making indoor air pollution higher than outdoor even in highly populated areas. Not to mention what is does to you as you are using the products. Do your own research for your health and the health of your family to buy safe non-toxic products to begin with and use them until they are gone. There is a safer solution to everything you are currently using. I have to say when it comes to over the counter medicine, I will not use it past the date on the bottle. It may be common place to have medicine in the house, but, they are sill drugs after all.

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