Understanding Expiration Dates
Much of what you know about expiration dates is false. While that little date found somewhere on your food packages seems quite authoritative, almost governmental in the minds of most, it is merely a suggestion made by the company that sells the product.
If you were a milk vender who had a family to provide for, would you recommend your milk be ingested in the next week or two weeks? The difference, especially when applied to millions of consumers, is a fortune in sales. That’s right; there is no regulation for expiration.
Let’s get something straight before we start, food most certainly goes bad and eating nothing might be better than eating some green meat or moldy bread in a crisis setting.
Yogurt and most meats can last a week to 10 days more than the “sell by” date. If the meat is dried, such as salami or prosciutto, you can actually get an additional 2-3 weeks out of it. Dehydration of meats is highly recommended in a SHTF scenario.
If we’re talking about seafood, you should be eating your catch within a few days. Fish, whose enzymes and microbes are used to cold water climates, will quickly rot even in a refrigerated setting. Keep all seafood frozen for as long as possible.
Eggs can typically be eaten almost 5 weeks after most sell times. Still, being cautious is important, so here is a tip to test your eggs yourself. When in doubt, gently place eggs in a big bowl of cold water filled to the top. If the eggs float, toss them. If they “stand up” that just means they are not as fresh but are still okay to eat.
Expiration dates don’t work like Cinderella; your food won’t become poison as the clock strikes midnight. If the food smells good and tastes good, you’re probably going to be safe. Don’t throw away perfectly good food because of an arbitrary date.