Expiration Dates Don't Matter—Here's Why

Since I can’t stand wasting food, I’ve always used the expiration dates on food items like milk, eggs, and bacon as guidelines rather than rules. People have been eating eggs since long before expiration dates existed, so instead I do the smell test: If the ingredient smells bad, then it’s probably bad, and I won’t eat it. AOL reports that I have been in the right all along, as the vast majority of expiration dates are totally bogus. “According to The National Resource Defense Council, the ‘sell by’ dates do indicate not whether or not foods are safe to eat—they simply tell you when food will reach its limits for ‘optimal quality,’” the story explains.

The United States Drug Association also says that it’s okay to eat foods past the dates listed on the package. The article goes on to list out how long most foods will last. Uncooked proteins like chicken or beef will last three to five days in the fridge. Eggs keep for three to five weeks after purchase, and unopened bacon is okay for two weeks in the fridge. If it’s opened, you have to eat it within seven days. Milk is drinkable for up to about a week after the expiration date. Head over to AOL to learn how long more ingredients last, including lettuce, ketchup, and chocolate.

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Do you throw away food once it’s past the date listed on the package?