FoodHealth & Fitness

These 12 Foods You Should Throw Away After Their Expiration Date

Once the expiration date has passed, throw these foods away

The expiration date on food has long since passed. Yikes! Do you need to discard it immediately, even if it looks fine? We have all encountered this problem whilst organizing the pantry and refrigerator.

Many foods can be eaten after their best-by and sell-by dates have passed, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, since best-by and sell-by dates reflect food quality, not food safety. The FDA doesn’t regulate these dates, so they’re mostly used to tell people when food will taste its best. In other words, the food should be fine if it has not spoiled.

It is, necessary to adhere closely to expiration dates for certain foods, such as meats and dairy products. When the expiration date of the other foods on this list passes, it’s best to toss them, unless you want an extra sick day on your hands. Also, read about how long milk lasts after the sell-by date, if it’s safe to eat expired eggs, and how long cooked meat lasts in the fridge—important information that can save you money.

Egg Substitutes

Shelf life: 3 to 5 days if opened; 10 days if unopened

If you’re debating whether to finish off that two-week-old carton of whites—don’t. A full carton of eggs has a little more leeway than their boxed substitutes, but both should be consumed within the next few days. As long as eggs are raw and in the shell, they can be kept in the fridge for three to five weeks. Once an egg-substitute product is opened, it has about three to five days on average. The first 10 days are the most important, according to Jessica Crandall, RDN, a registered dietitian, diabetes educator and national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics based in Denver.

Soft cheeses

Shelf life: 1-2 weeks, depending on the type of soft cheese; however, throw them away once they start to go bad

The shelf life of harder cheeses in the fridge is longer because bacteria and mold are less likely to permeate them. As the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advises, hard and processed cheeses last for three to four weeks once opened. If you have to, cut out a one-inch square around moldy areas and use the rest.

Nonetheless, ricotta, cream cheese, and goat cheese are more susceptible to bacteria and should be discarded at the earliest signs of spoiling or once the expiration date has passed. According to experts at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, cream cheese has a shelf life of two weeks maximum, while ricotta has one week. You should also take note of whether butter actually expires.

Jarred condiments

Shelf life: Between one month and one year, but should be thrown away if discolored or smelly

Even though spreads and sauces may seem untouchable just because they’re kept in a cool refrigerator doesn’t mean they’re safe from bacteria. Crandall advises that once the lid is opened, the safety seal has been broken, so you should use it within a short amount of time. We also dip our knife into the spread container as we make sandwiches, wipe it onto the sandwich, and then return it to the container as we make sandwiches. The result is that you are reintroducing some of these bacteria back into the container.”

New York’s Department of Agriculture says mustard can last up to a year, but salsa, mayo, BBQ sauce, ketchup and barbecue sauce should be discarded after one month, mayo after two months, and mayo after four months. However, no matter how long it’s been refrigerated, it’s best to toss it if you see water floating on top, discoloration, or strange smells.

Potato salad

Shelf life: 3-5 days

Potato, tuna, and egg salads are more susceptible to bacterial growth than jarred spreads because they have more exposures—for example, when you take just a few scoops at a time from the container. As a result, you may simply forget that the salad has been sitting there for days, which puts you at greater risk of food poisoning. Our food system is very safe, but sometimes we need to be extra cautious when things fall out of temperature or when bacteria are introduced, says Crandall. Here’s what you need to know about salt expiration if you want to add salt to that potato salad. The USDA warns you to toss salads that have been kept for three to five days.

Also Read: What To Eat When You Crave A Sandwich: 7 Substitutes For Bread

Cold-pressed juice

Shelf life: 5 days after opening, but 30 days after high-pressure processing

Even though green juices are popular on Instagram, raw versions should not be kept in your fridge. Due to their nutrient-dense nature, raw, untreated juices are extremely popular among health-conscious people. However, they need to be consumed within a short period of time.

The raw juices are not pasteurized, which makes them much more likely to be contaminated with bacteria than typical processed juices, which are pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria and increase shelf life. High-pressure processing, sometimes called cold pasteurization, can be applied to cold-pressed juices. Fresh juices can stay fresh for about 30 days if they’re refrigerated properly for five days after opening. You should always check the use-by date on the label of a product, as well as the handling instructions. Here are some reasons why you should never leave food in your vehicle.

Fresh meat

Shelf life: Check the sell-by date on the meat

A fresh meat product usually has a sell-by date, which tells the store how long it can sell it. If you buy it at the store, you either have to eat it or freeze it. The sell-by date indicates when the product should be on the shelves for the last time. “If it’s the last day they can keep it on shelves, they may even discount it to get rid of it,” Crandall says. There is a high chance that fresh raw meat contains Salmonella, E. coli, or other bacteria. It is therefore crucial that the meat is cooked at the appropriate temperature to protect against these bacteria.

Ground meats

Shelf life: 48 hours (if not frozen) after purchase

If you purchase ground meat, whether it’s beef, pork, turkey, lamb or another type, you should eat it or freeze it within two days. Your risk of contracting food poisoning or another illness increases if the bacteria that were originally present on the surface are mixed throughout the meat because it is ground.

Deli meat

Shelf life: 3-5 days

The USDA advises you not to load up too much at the deli counter. Ham and turkey slices will last about three to five days, so buy only what you can eat during that time (unless you plan to freeze them). Fresh-sliced varieties last two weeks longer if they are unopened than prepackaged varieties. However, once you break the seal, you’ve only got three- to five days to consume them.

There is a type of bacteria known as Listeria that can multiply in cold environments such as your refrigerator, so just because it is cold doesn’t mean it is completely safe. Some bacteria can’t be seen, smelled or tasted, so you have to avoid them. If your deli meat looks slimy or smells funky, it’s a good sign that it should be thrown away. Also make sure the temperature in your fridge is below 40°.


Shelf life: 1-2 days after purchase

Keeping fish in the freezer for three months or longer is recommended, because it is no less susceptible to bacteria than meat. If you wrap the fish in moisture-proof freezer paper or foil, it can be frozen for three months or longer.

Fresh berries

Shelf life: Three days to two weeks, depending on type

You can buy berries from a store or farmer’s market, but they have a short shelf life. According to’s FoodKeeper app, raspberries and strawberries last three days after purchase, while blueberries can last up to two weeks. If you don’t plan to eat any berries within that time frame, freeze them first. After that, they turn mushy and can grow mold. Another question for you is: Does flour go bad when cooked?

Leafy greens

Shelf life: It depends on the expiration date, so eat them as soon as possible

Even prewashed packaged greens. In order to keep yourself safe from catching bacteria like E. coli, eat leafy greens quickly, and don’t eat them after the expiration date on the bag. You wouldn’t want a soggy salad anyway. You can find out how long your fresh produce will last by reading this.


Shelf life: Depending on the shellfish, three to five days

Raw shellfish should be refrigerated quickly to prevent bacteria from growing that could lead to foodborne illness, just like other seafood. According to the FoodKeeper app, scallops only last three days after they are bought, while clams, mussels, and oysters should be eaten within five days of their purchase. Throw out any seafood with a funky odor as soon as possible.

Also Read: Here Are Five Ways You Can Use Instant Coffee In The Winter, These Tips Will Come In Handy

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