Is This Still Good?

An expired date on a food package = food poisoning risk, right?

Not necessarily.


“Food-borne illness comes from the contamination of food by salmonella, listeria, and other pathogens,” agriculture and food expert Dana Gunders, who co-authored a recent report on food labeling by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, tells Yahoo Shine. “They get on the food during production and processing. That’s what leads to people being sick, not the age of the food.”

Experts actually say that there are many foods will still be fine to consume to eat after their expiration date.

While most people think that food labeling is regulated, the Federal Food and Drug Administration oversees only the labeling of baby formula. Everything else is controlled by the food producer or seller.

“The demand for labels came out of a concern about freshness,” says Gunders. “They were never meant to be about safety.

The Two Types Of Expiration Dates

“Sell by” dates: When the manufacturer recommends that retailers rotate stock.

“Use by” or “best by” dates: Indicate freshness to the consumer.

How Can I Determine When To Throw Food Away?

Experts agree that consuming food, ultimately, comes down to your senses, as well as common sense.

“Smell the food,” food safety expert Ted Labuza says. Labuza, who teaches food science and nutrition at the University of Minnesota, says the key to ensuring a longer shelf life is controlling the storage temperature and preventing exposure to moisture and oxygen.

Such as…

Meat. Labuza keeps his refrigerator at between 32 and 34 degrees, lower than the generally recommended 40 degrees. This gives meat a 50 percent longer shelf life, he says.

Milk. Pasteurized milk also lasts 50 percent longer when stored at a lower temperature.

Jarred, Bottled & Canned Goods. The label generally gives a shelf life of about three years. If you keep cans in a cool place they will last about seven years. Always discard dented cans.

Frozen Food. Freezing kills the microbes that cause spoilage. However food may be subjected to freezer burn if there are air spaces inside of the packaging.

Eggs. Place a whole egg in a bowl of water. If it floats, it’s bad and you should throw it away. If it sinks, it’s still edible, regardless of the expiration date.

Pasta. Keep pasta in clear packaging in a dark, cool place to increase shelf life.

Bread. Keep bread and other wheat-flour based foods in the freezer to extends shelf life.

Safety Note: Experts warn that prepared foods and processed meats can pick up pathogens while being produced. They can also harbor listeria – even when refrigerated. To help keep you and your family safe, use such foods quickly and never serve processed meats raw, especially to small children, the elderly, or anyone who has a damaged immune system.

Bottoms Up: The 7 Healthiest Cocktails

A margarita in a blue rimmed glass surrounded by limesYou’re trying to eat (and drink) healthy. But…it’s hard to pass up that well-earned cocktail at the end of a tough week.

Good news: there’s no reason to!

Straight liquor, though not so tasty, is healthiest if served neat (alone with no mixer) or on the rocks (with a little ice). That means vodka, gin, whiskey, and scotch are all fair game. It’s the clearer types of alcohol, however, that go easier on the body. They also go easier on calories. One serving of vodka contains only 97 calories and zero carbs, while a serving of gin has about 110 calories and zero carbs. Whiskey and Scotch actually are very close in calories to gin and vodka.

Although liquor served neat or on the rocks usually comes as a double shot, the whole point is to drink them moderately. Even though mixers taste really good, one serving of pineapple juice adds on an extra 133 calories and 32 grams of carbs, while ginger ale has 124 calories and also 32 grams of carbs

Here are some healthier ways to get your drink on…

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For a healthier cosmopolitan, trade a little of the liquor for club soda. In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 shot (about 2 ounces) of citrus-flavored vodka, 1 splash of club soda, 1 splash of cranberry juice, and the juice of 1 lime wedge; shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass.

Rum & Coke
Ah, the classic rum and Coke—minus the, well, Coke. Enid Cortes, bartender at New York City’s Royalton Hotel, says a white rum and diet cola is a good choice to cut the calories. Or try a spiced rum to give the drink a kick.

A margarita can be a low-calorie cocktail. The classic margarita recipe simply calls for tequila, lime juice, and a tiny bit of agave syrup or Cointreau. The most important thing is to skip pre-made mixes. Don’t be afraid to ask the bartender to just use fresh lime juice and a splash of simple syrup instead of a mix.