You’re probably wondering why anyone would want to eat food that expired long ago. Well here is the simple answer, because it’s safe and good for you!
Food With Long Expiry Date
Spoiler alert: You may not have to actually toss something just because the date on the package says so. Especially these long-lasting edibles.
CREDIT: PHOTO: EMILIJA MANEVSKA / GETTY IMAGES
If one of your resolutions for the new year is cleaning out your kitchen, don’t start until you read this. Food waste has come under fire in recent years, and you’ve probably heard that the dates printed on food labels can mean a host of different things, and not necessarily that what’s inside has gone bad or is no longer safe to eat. In fact, with the exception of infant formula, dates are not an indicator of a product’s safety and are not required by federal law, says Kantha Shelke, Ph.D., a food scientist and principal of Corvus Blue LLC, a food science and research firm.
Still, she says, “Food, from the moment it is harvested or made, is destined to age and spoil.” The top contributors to spoilage are moisture, heat, light, pests like insects and rodents, and plain old time. “Shelf-stable foods have a long, but limited, shelf-life,” Shelke says. “Going past that time, which is unique for each food, inevitably spoils the quality and ultimately, the safety of the food.
Ketchup and Mustard
Until relatively recently, these condiments weren’t even refrigerated, says Shelke. They contain sugar and salt, which are natural preservatives, and mustard has compounds with natural antimicrobial properties, decreasing the odds of any microorganisms growing.
“The best way of preserving something is to dry it,” says Shelke. Treating food with heat destroys foodborne microorganisms that can cause illness or spoil the food extend the shelf-life of foods to as much as 18 months to two years.
1 to 2 Years
Traditionally, soy sauce is a fermented product, and its high levels of sodium prevent bacteria from growing.
These are one of the most shelf-stable foods, and only eventually degrade because of tiny amounts of oil in the bran that goes rancid.