Expiration Date Experiment

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I was looking for something to make for dinner and found this Rice A Roni in my pantry.   I’d had it for a while and it was well past the “Best By” date, in this case, 10/2009.   How did this get past me?  I thought, “Hmmm.  Should I or shouldn’t I?”  So I did some research on the internet about “Best by” dates.

Technically, the item was not expired, it was past its “Best By” date.   This means the product is past its prime, and may have lost some flavor, texture or appearance.  I opened it, examined the contents and the rice/noodle mix looked fine.  The spice pack looked okay but had hardened a bit.  I cooked it according to the instructions.  When I mixed the spice pack with the rice and water,  it dissolved quickly.   When it was cooked, I tasted the rice and found it was tasty as ever.   So I ate it anyway.

I don’t recommend eating expired food, and I don’t want anyone getting sick from eating a food that had gone bad.

  • If it was a true “Expiration Date”  I would not have eaten it.
  • Fresh food such as meat, fish, dairy, cold cuts should be thrown out after they reach their dates.
  • Expired canned food that have dents, bulges or rust should be thrown out.
  • Don’t give young children, elderly or anyone with a compromised immune system anything past their best by or expiration dates.
  • Here is a link to the USDA website on Food Product Dating:  It had a lot of good information.  Food Product Dating

Lessons learned:

  • I need to be more vigilant about watching those expiration dates.
  • I marked all my canned food with a sharpie so the dates are now more visible.  I will mark the boxed goods as well.
  • I will place the foods with upcoming expiration dates in front of the shelf within easy reach.
  • If in doubt, throw it out.

© Apartment Prepper 2011


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  1. Great reminder. The best by date isn’t a expiration date, which far to many people think is the same. I’ve eaten on a regular basis canned corn, green beans and various soups from 2006-2008 with no ill effects. I’ve also recently ate Ramen noodles from 1998 with no ill effects or any off tastes. However, I’m finding those new ‘easy open’ can lids are terrible for food storage. Over this winter, I’ve thrown away over three dozen cans of soup, green beans, baked beans, canned ham and ravioli products that were put into storage around mid-2008. Every single case the seal was compromised.

  2. I date everything with a Sharpie as well and if the label is too slick or shiny I stick a piece of Blue Painter’s Tape on it and date that. 🙂

  3. Hi Apt Prepper,
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    Also look at my posts in http://www.Americanpreppersnetwork.net.

    Please drop me a line at ncudissertation@hotmail.com if you have more questions or might be interested. Your identity will be held in the strictists confidence.

  4. I have eaten many foods after their Expiration Date – usually boxed products such as rice, pop corn, few canned items and some frozen products as well. I rotate my stocks fairly well and these were missed items. No problems. I would be hesitant to eat anything that is fresh and showing degrading – such as meat.

    I believe most expiration dates are placed for legal reasons as well as to increase sales. If I found a can of Chicken Noddle Soup from 2009 – I would have no problem opening and after inspection – gobbling it up.


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