Food and medicines have expiration dates and based on what we have been taught, it is important to consume them before the date or thereafter the items have to be disposed off carefully to avoid contaminating ground water or other sources of water. Typically, manufacturers of food are required by federal law just to mention expiration dates on certain food items and all medicines. At times, people do not care about expiration dates and still consume expired food and medicines without any problems. So, does this mean expiration dates do not matter?
What Does Expiration Date Mean?
Basically, it refers to the date by which the food or medicine should be consumed. Thereafter, the consumer is taking risk. At times, instead of expiration date, the item may have a sell by date, best if used before date or use by date. All these dates are indication of the last date by when the product should be consumed.
Do Expiration Dates Matter?
For some food items, expiration dates do matter. However, when it comes to milk, it appears that milk can still be consumed a week after its expiration date. Eggs can also be consumed three to five days after the sell by date passes. While the grade of the egg can reduce, it is still completely edible. When it comes to canned food items, usually they stay without getting spoiled for 18 months, if the canned food is highly acidic. Low acidic canned foods can be stored for at least 5 years without getting spoilt. Beef and pork should be cooked or frozen within 3 to 5 days; seafood and poultry should be frozen or cooked within 1 to 2 days of the expiration date.
People should avoid consuming drinks containing aspartame after the expiration drinks, as aspartame breaks down and begins to taste horrible after a certain period of time.
When it comes to medications, many experts claim that the expiration dates mentioned are hyped, as pharmaceutical companies want their sales to be high. However, it is a known fact that once the expiration date of a drug passes by, the drug may become less potent, toxic or stay unchanged. So when it comes to medications, it is usually recommended that people not consume them after their expiration dates have passed. This is especially true when drugs are kept in the bathroom where it can get humid and hot.
Condoms are other items that have expiration dates. It is best to avoid using a condom after the expiration date, as it can lead to an unplanned pregnancy.
So, it appears that expiration date does matter for certain consumer goods, while it may not be a problem for others.
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WebMD: Do Expiration Dates Matter?