Foods That You Can Still Eat After The Expiration Date

Did you know that there are several foods that you CAN still eat after their expiration date?

April 17, 2020
Expiration Date

(Photo by Colleen Kottke/Wisconsin State Farmer)

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Many of us can get a bit squeamish when it comes to eating food past its printed date, but it may surprise you that food doesn't necessarily become unsafe to eat once that date passes.

Things like The FDA's Food Keeper App can help guide you on individual foods, but below, we've listed a few foods that you can generally eat past their expiration dates...

(Just a note, you should always use common sense too; if a food seems off to you, don't eat it. Also, this depends on proper food handling and safety, so be sure you're storing food correctly and at proper temperatures.)

Canned Foods

As long as you're storing cans at a safe temperature (generally under 75 degrees) they should be safe indefinitely, but they are at best quality within two-to-five years. If a can is bulging or rusted, throw it out. You can check specific foods here.

Frozen Food

Frozen food is safe indefinitely but its quality will start to deteriorate within a few months to a year depending on what it is. You can look up specific foods on the FoodKeeper app.

Hard Cheeses

How long this kind of cheese (such as parmigiano reggiano) lasts will depend on how you store it. It should last at least six months unopened in your fridge, and about a month after opening. If mold appears, you can use a clean knife and slice that part of the cheese off.

Eggs

Eggs are generally safe about three-to-five weeks from date of purchase, even if the printed date passes.

Bread

Bread will generally become stale past its expiration date, but it's still safe to eat. If it's moldy, toss it out. To extend its shelf life, toss it in the freezer.

Cereal

Cereal might go stale, but it's still safe to eat long after its expiration date.

Dried Pasta

Dried pasta will last for about two years (and about a year if you open the box).

Sugar

Sugar never spoils. Seriously! But for best quality, you'll want to use it within two years.

Milk

The date on milk is generally a "sell-by" date versus a "use-by" date. Generally, though, milk is safe to use for a few days after the printed date, especially if you haven't opened it yet.

Yogurt

Yes, even yogurt will last for a week or so past its expiration date once you open it.

Potato Chips

They may go stale, but unless they're discolored or moldy, chips are safe for months in the pantry.

Chocolate

Dark chocolate is safe to eat for about two years if left unopened, but after opening, it should be safe to eat for about a year. Milk and white chocolate is safe a year after buying.

Peanut Butter

Unopened processed peanut butter is still good for months beyond its printed date. Once you open it, you should use it with a few months for best quality.

Honey

You should use honey within two years for best quality, but it can remain stable way longer than that.

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