We all like to live on the edge now and again, but for some foods the expiration date is nothing to mess with. Sure, there are foods that are probably fine after the expiration date as long as they show no signs of rottenness or mold. After all, if your bread expired yesterday but it’s still fresh and has no mold, you’ll probably eat it. But there are some precariously shelf stable foods where you shouldn’t take that risk. We’ve got a list of the foods you should never eat after the expiration date.
1 – Cold Pressed Juice
We know, we know, someone in your life has been shoving fresh squeezed raw juice your way. Maybe you love it, maybe you hate it, maybe you just hold your nose and drink it for your health, but there is one important thing to know about that antioxidant rich green juice you had for breakfast: it expires quickly! Most of the healthy benefits from the much publicized super food ingredients that make these cold pressed juices so appealing comes from the idea that these juices are raw. As we all know, raw means uncooked and unpasteurized. So if your healthy juice says it expires tomorrow, believe it! Stick to that expiration date!
2 – Ground Meat
Ground beef, ground pork, or ground chicken are another food item where the expiration date is very important follow. Some ground meat at your grocery store meat department was always intended for that purpose, but some of it may be other cuts of meat that weren’t selling well. This is another reason why it’s also important to cook ground meat thoroughly to kill bacteria. When you buy fresh ground beef, chicken, turkey, or pork, always plan to use it within a day or two, or within the expiration date. So get started on those chicken burgers, make grandma’s turkey meatloaf, or roll out those meatballs sooner rather than later!
3 – Sprouts
Don’t mess around with this expired food item. Long one of the more likely culprits of reported food poisoning, all varieties of sprouts should be treated with serious caution. Their natural growing conditions are also the perfect conditions to foster bacteria growth. So whatever your favorite sprout, whether bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, or clover sprouts, always take care to keep your sprouts refrigerated properly. And, even if they have not neared their expiration date, do not eat them if they look mushy, moldy, are soft, or smell off.
4 – Shellfish
We know you’ve probably already been warned about this one, but fresh shellfish tend to have a very, very short shelf life so an expiration date on shellfish is absolutely nothing to mess around with. Shrimp, lobster, crab, crawfish, and langoustines should only be a couple of days in the fridge at most after they’re cooked. As for mussels, oysters, clams, and scallops, we recommend no more than a day at the maximum. Always trust your nose and your eyes when it comes to the freshness of last night’s shrimp–if they smell or look bad, don’t you dare eat them! And you had better respect those expiration dates, mister!
5 – Condiments
You’ve probably got a jars of such-and-such and what-not that have been haunting the shelves of your fridge door for a frighteningly long time. It’s okay, we won’t tell anyone. But still, there’s an expiration on those jars for a reason. Be especially careful with condiments people dip into, as not only do they have expiration dates, but by nature of the way we use them, at times those condiments may become cross contaminated with other food items like bread crumbs (we know you’ve told your kids a hundred times not to double dip their knife in the mustard jar). Consider buying smaller containers of condiments if you find you’re not using them completely by their sell by date.
6 – Deli Meat
There’s a reason doctors recommend that pregnant women not consume lunch meat, and that issue can be compounded if expiration dates are ignored. Listeria contamination is no laughing matter and deli meats are one of the most reported culprits in cases of food poisoning. So follow expiration dates on your deli meat, and be sure to quickly eat packages of lunch meat after you open them.
7 – Fresh Berries
We don’t need to tell you that fresh berries don’t last long. You’ve probably already learned that for yourself. But it’s important to watch that sell by date and not go over it, and that is that fresh berries are very susceptible to bacteria and mold the longer they wait after being picked. So if you’re treating yourself to fresh berries, plan to eat them quickly. They’re delicious and unbelievably nutritious, so there’s no reason to wait to eat them!