The expiration date of food: is it really the limit?

As a parent, one of our main concerns is to ensure that our children eat well. We want to feed them foods that are good quality, nutritious and ... fresh!

In terms of freshness, the expiry date often reflects our perception of either an expired food or one that is still edible. But is the expiry date really the limit to when one can consume food? Here is how to interpret this date to consume in an enlightened way and even avoid food waste.

Expiration dates, what are they?

Foods marked "Best Before" are those that have a shelf life of 90 days or less and have been packaged elsewhere than where they will be sold. The packaging of these foods also contains their storage instructions.

However, the expiry date applies only to foods whose packaging has never been opened. For example, deli packets, once opened, must be consumed within four days. Same thing for fresh meat and fish. Pasteurized juice must be consumed within 10 days of opening.

So what happens with products that have never been opened? Well, many are still fine for consumption

Still good, even if “expired”

For many foods, "Best Before" simply states that past this date, the product, if it has never been opened, could have a different texture and color or be a little less nourishing. However, they are still good to be consumed!

Here's a list of foods you do not need to worry about, even weeks after their expiration date:

  • Cereals (quinoa, wheat semolina, etc.)
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Dry legumes
  • Canned goods
  • Butter
  • Oils and vinegar
  • Condiments
  • And more!

Even dairy products can be eaten up to a few weeks after the expiry date, provided that the product always stayed cold.

To find out if a food is out of date, trust your senses rather than the date. If a food has a strange color, you are uncomfortable with the taste or it has a foul odor, do not take a chance and put it in the trash.

Reduce food waste

If you want to make sure you do not waste anything and make the most of your food, there are different solutions for you. First, think about freezing! Most foods respond very well to this method of preservation and this will help you avoid wasting. Are you inspired and you like to cook? Go around your fridge and pantry and cook your less fresh foods.

Soups and compotes like applesauce are so easy to make, not to mention that many foods can substitute others in recipes. A remaining legume or avocado can very well give consistency to a dessert and yoghurt can replace sour cream or mayonnaise in many dishes!

Be creative!

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