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04 January, 2013

Don't Fear That Expired Food

Don't Fear That Expired Food | WBAA: Now that the Christmas feast is over, you may be looking at all the extra food you made, or the food that you brought home from the store that never even got opened.

And you may be wondering: How long can I keep this? What if it's past its expiration date? Who even comes up with those dates on food, anyway, and what do they mean?

Here's the short answer: Those "sell by" dates are there to protect the reputation of the food. They have very little to do with food safety. If you're worried whether food is still OK to eat, just smell it...

... Canned food, in particular, can stay safe for a really long time. In 1974, scientists at the National Food Processors Association in Washington, D.C., got their hands on several old cans of food. 

Janet Dudek, now semi-retired and living in Vienna, Va., was among the scientists who analyzed this old food. Her assignment was a can of corn, vintage 1934, that was found in someone's basement in California. 

When they opened the can, Dudek says, the contents looked and smelled pretty much like ordinary canned corn. Analysis showed that it had most of the usual complement of nutrients — although there were lower levels of a few, such as vitamin C. 

Results were similar for century-old canned oysters, tomatoes and red peppers in cans recovered from a sunken steamboat, buried in river silt near Omaha, Neb...


[Read the whole article at the link above -- it's worth it!]

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