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Entries in Expiration Dates (1)

Wednesday
Jun202012

Expiration dates

My kids are nuts about expiration dates.  They will absolutely, positively, without question not go past the date on a package.

It doesn’t matter if the package sell by, use by, best by.  When that date is hit, it’s all over.  The item is trashed.

While I don’t want to encourage bad food/medicine/beer handling, when I was growing up we had no dates on packages.

  • When opening a milk bottle (yes, bottle), the first thing we did was smell the contents.  If sour, it was tossed.  Only a fine practitioner of smell would know the difference between really bad milk, and just some sour milk at the bottle mouth.
  • My mom kept a bottle of aspirin.  While it wasn’t the first bottle of aspirin made, it could only have been 20 years old as it was a generic brand.  It was in her medicine cabinet forever.  Was it bad? Had it lost some of its effectiveness?  I don’t think so…as it would help me with a headache! 
  • On beer, a beer was tasted to determine freshness.  If “skunky”, it was tossed.  Otherwise it was presumed to be good.

Colors & smells were often used to determine expiration.  A bad smell was always a non-starter in my house.  A little extra color, in the form of a nice mold, was often trimmed away.  Heck, I had a friend who always bought the old meat at the grocery…skillfully trimming away any mold while convincingly making the argument the meat was aged.  Having one of his steaks always made me feel like maybe he knew something I didn’t.

Is the use of these dates the contributing factor in longer life expectancy, driven by a dramatic decrease in food poisoning?  Somehow, I suspect our storage practices are better than in the past.

That said, a little common sense around the dates may be in order.  Again, I am not advocating lunacy…just some common sense.