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(Just) out of date food.

(41 Posts)
petallus Thu 30-Aug-12 10:24:37

Grandson aged 13 needed sandwiches today to take with him to a day's sporting event. I had his favourite (BLT) in my fridge but the eat by date was yesterday. His mother (my DD) said he couldn't eat the sandwiches.

However, DH has said he will eat them 'so as not to waste them'. He's already finished one and so far no adverse effects.

Is DD being fussy or is it us?

(I nearly posted this under mollycoddled children) grin

vampirequeen Thu 30-Aug-12 10:44:01

Far too fussy. We have noses. If food is off it has a funny smell. I use the 'use by' date as a guide not an instruction.

Anagram Thu 30-Aug-12 10:50:54

DD's like yours regarding 'use by' dates, petallus, whereas DH will eat things well out of date as long as they look and smell OK. I'm somewhere in between, but I certainly wouldn't throw food away because it's a couple of days past the 'use by' date.

absentgrana Thu 30-Aug-12 11:03:17

Vampirequeen Some foods do not have a funny smell when they are off. Some people's noses are not very sensitive. Some foods have use-by dates that are not really necessary but are there to protect the supermarket/manufacturer. Some – fish, chicken, for example, really should be followed.

JessM Thu 30-Aug-12 11:06:32

I would not eat anything like meat, hummus or sandwiches if out of date.

But I was astounded to read on the Branston jar - "once opened keep refrigerated. Use within 6 weeks"
It is a pickle for goodness sake!!! In the fridge!!!
I wonder whether if I put a saucer of it on a warm kitchen windowsill whether it would have grown many interesting cultures in 6 weeks. Might try it.
As it is a 3.3 kg jar I think about 6 months will be just fine, as long as only clean forks etc stuck in it.

Anagram Thu 30-Aug-12 11:11:13

I don't keep tomato or brown sauce in the fridge, although it tells you to do so on the label. Neither of us has succumbed to any form of food poisoning because of this act of disobedience on my part!

JO4 Thu 30-Aug-12 11:11:44

I think you are fine with bacon. Especially if it was smoked. And the lettuce and tomato won't hurt him.

JO4 Thu 30-Aug-12 11:12:56

We finished up some salad cream a few days ago. It was best before end of June. It had been kept in cupboard. I am still typing and DH is still digging. sunshine

vampirequeen Thu 30-Aug-12 11:26:40

I'm not suggesting people with problems with sight or smell should trust their senses that would be silly. But tbh most foods that are on the turn have tell tale signs and of course if in doubt throw it out.

Greatnan Thu 30-Aug-12 11:27:02

I found my grandchildren were buying far too much food, not freezing it, and throwing it away on the very date suggested as 'best by'. When I took over the housekeeping, I used my common sense (and my nose), froze food as soon as I got back from the supermarket and didn't tell them what the date had been. Nobody suffered any ills.
I often go away for a couple of weeks and leave things in the fridge and eat them when I get back. I have eaten yoghurts which were two months old without any ill effects, and I have travelled to many tropical countries with less than British standards of food safety. I am never ill.
I grew up at a time when there were no fridges in working class houses and no money spare for throwing food away.
I have also noticed the advice about keeping pickles, etc. in the fridge. For goodness sake, isn't that why they are pickled in the first place, so they will keep? However, I have noticed that jam does go mouldy.

Babies and children need their surroundings to be kept reasonably clean, not as hygienic as an operating theatre (hm, possibly not a good comparison with hospital infections being as rife as they are). My family say I have a stomach 'like a leather bucket' and I put this down entirely to my mother's relaxed attitude to hygiene. I don't get colds either. (That could be, of course,because I live alone and rarely have contact with other people!)

vampirequeen Thu 30-Aug-12 11:28:24

Also you can't always trust use by dates because if the product hasn't been stored properly either in the store or your fridge then it could be going off before the use by date. As I said before it should be a guide not an instruction.

Greatnan Thu 30-Aug-12 11:30:31

Vampire Queen - you are quite right - I always choose frozen foods from the bottom of the freezer, as I have found some on the top layer has become partially unfrozen

absentgrana Thu 30-Aug-12 11:31:23

True Oh Queen. smile

nightowl Thu 30-Aug-12 11:42:41

My daughter even throws away vegetables that have reached their sell by date. I grab them quick if I'm there. It's a carrot for goodness sake! What can it do to you?

granjura Thu 30-Aug-12 12:06:03

The whole situation is absolutely ridiculous nowadays. My sil is totally obsessed by sbd- he was appalled that I had a bag of rice that was out of date by a week! The food wastage Greatnan describes is just a tragedy - when you think about the environmental issues attached with production and transport, etc.

Here in Switzerland sbd are even shorter by about a week. The other disaster in the UK is the 2 for 1 type offers - as people cannot resist them - knowing that there is no way they will have the time/organisation to eat the food. At the cash desk I was often told 'you know it is a 2 for 1- go quickly to get another packet' and me replying 'only 2 of us, there is no way we can eat 2 x 1kg packet of tangerines' (or whatever) with the reply 'oh, it does not matter as it is free' - and looking at me like I was crazy for saying no. I often got the 2 for 1 and just gave one away to the family next to me at the counter, again looking at me like I was mad. Modern families are too busy to organise cooking for the freezer- and it all ends up in the bin! As said, tragic, in so many many ways.

absentgrana Thu 30-Aug-12 12:07:41

I have pointed out before that sell by dates and use by dates are different and it is the latter that you should keep an eye on.

harrigran Thu 30-Aug-12 12:14:16

I eat food that has reached or passed the use by date but I never give it to GC. Nose is not always a good indication as E coli and salmonella do not always give off an odour. Lettuce and other vegetables can cause food poisoning if they have not been thoroughly cleaned, after all they are grown in soil. I think sometimes it is worth the risk, far to much wastage of food nowadays.

NfkDumpling Thu 30-Aug-12 12:21:46

I was brought up before sell/use by dates by a mother who threw away nothing. Wobbly carrots - give them a good scrub. Mildewed cheese - scrap it off. Stale bread - toast it. If it was too far gone for us it got feed to the dog or hens. Now though in her 80's she reads every label and good food is jettisoned the day after the use by. Even pickles. She gets most upset by the casseroles etc I make for her - no dates!

Bez Thu 30-Aug-12 12:37:14

I did a lot of reading about food safety when I bought a vacuum packer - it seems that one of the greatest hazards which can neither be seen or smelt is botulism and it can affect vacuum packed food.
I pack stuff and then freeze it if I have not used it in a couple of days. If anyone here has good knowledge about vacuum packing etc I would be glad the learn more.
It is some meat, fish and dairy produce ( not hard cheeses of course) that I am most careful about - fruit and veg I go by appearance as much as anything. DH will eat all sorts despite the dates and I have to admit he is still here but my stepson is a member of the fridge police and goes through things as soon as he comes through the door.

dorsetpennt Thu 30-Aug-12 14:17:30

I'm terrible about sell by dates - under cautious rather then over. I don't mean with fresh food really - I mean if it's yesterday's date it seems fine to me, except with raw chicken of course. However, my daughter who loves to tidy up my larder also has a chuck out of things like sauces and pickles. We did quite a big chuck out last weekend and I was quite ashamed about how much stuff there was .shock

janeainsworth Thu 30-Aug-12 14:47:39

My DS was staying recently and requested marmite on toast. On examination the marmite jar was inscribed 'best before June 2009'. Although it smelled normal for marmite and there were no visible signs of fungal growth, he refused to eat it and to my shame I capitulated and threw the offending jar away. I posted on Facebook about the incident and was roundly told off by several friends who were of the opinion that the flavour would become more exquisite as time passed.
Generally I ignore use by dates, except for fresh meat and fish, but after my DS and family had gone back to the States, I discovered some tubes of Yeo yoghurt in the fridge that DDiL had bought. By this time they were 2 weeks past the use by date, but I confidently presented one to Mr A for pudding. The tubes contained a horrible mass of separated curds and whey, with a sort of sparkling alcoholic flavourshock
Somehow the combination of sparkling and alcohol was not nearly so appealing as when it comes out of a large green bottlewine

NfkDumpling Thu 30-Aug-12 15:29:59

But Jane, you really didn't need the use by date to tell you it was 'off'. I've had Yeo yoghurt that was within it's use by date but was starting to ferment, so I chucked it. What's happened to common sense?

joshsnan Thu 30-Aug-12 16:07:23

My DD is terrible when it comes to SBD if its half an hour past date its binned...so wasteful...

I used to work in a confectioners and the waste at the end of the day was shameful... we were strictly told that it was all to be binned, even though there was quite a few homeless people near by that could of benefited from it, It used to make me feel so sad sad

JessM Thu 30-Aug-12 16:53:36

There is the valid point that people with damaged immune systems should be hyper cautious. (e.g. on chemo)

And that immune systems do deteriorate in some ways with age sad So we might not always get away with playing fast and loose with sell by dates.

Although in other ways they improve as they encounter yet more bugs and develop yet more specific immunities.
Anyway I am on "eat up ods and sods" whatever is left in the fridge mission this evening. A bit like Ainsley - what can i make with some past their best eggs, some nice potatoes , onions, a green pepper.... ah-ha - spanish omelette is the answer. ta-dahhhh

goldengirl Thu 30-Aug-12 16:58:56

I would imagine that the USB is still within eatable limits after a day or two, otherwise manufacturers would be even more concerned about prosecutions ie there has to be a little give and take so manufacturers use a date that the food is absolutely safe [well, as much as it can be] to eat whereas in reality it's fine for a few extra days.

I'm a standing joke in our house about having tins and dried foods beyond best by dates. If it tastes OK then it gets used. If it doesn't then it's binned!