Thursday, September 23, 2010

Food Expiration Dates. Ah, Back To My Own Bed

What do they really mean?

(Photo: Getty Images)

"Are you one of those people who pour the milk down the drain on the expiration date?

Expiration dates on food products can protect consumer health, but those dates are really more about quality than safety, and if not properly understood, they can also encourage consumers to discard food that is perfectly safe to eat.

A recent poll of more than 2,000 adults showed that most of us discard food we believe is unsafe to eat, which is a good thing, of course, but it is important that we understand what food expiration dates mean before we dump our food -- and our money -- down the drain or into the garbage. On average, in the U.S. we waste about 14% of the food we buy each year. The average American family of four throws out around $600 worth of groceries every year. 


Which five foods are most often feared as being unsafe after the printed date? According to, we are most wary of milk, cottage cheese, mayonnaise, yogurt, and eggs, and the site offers these helpful explanations:

  • Milk: If properly refrigerated, milk will remain safe, nutritious, and tasty for about a week after the sell-by date and will probably be safe to drink longer than that, though there’s a decline in nutritional value and taste.
  • Cottage cheese: Pasteurized cottage cheese lasts for 10-14 days after the date on the carton.
  • Mayonnaise: Unopened, refrigerated Kraft mayonnaise can be kept for 30 days after its expiration date or 3-4 months after opening, the company told ShelfLifeAdvice.
  • Yogurt: Yogurt will remain good 7-10 days after its sell-by date.
  • Eggs: Properly refrigerated eggs should last at least 3-5 weeks after the sell-by date, according to Professor Joe Regenstein, a food scientist at Cornell University. Note: Use of either a sell-by or expiration (EXP) date is not federally required, but may be state required, as defined by the egg laws in the state where the eggs are marketed.

The “Use-By” Date

The “use-by” or “best if used-by” date indicates the last day that the item is at its best quality as far as taste, texture, appearance, odor, and nutritional value. The decline after that is gradual. The use-by date refers to product that has not yet been opened.

The “Sell By” Date

The “sell by” date is not really a matter of food safety, but a notice to stores that the product should be taken off the shelf because it will begin to decline in quality after that date."

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Ah!  Bliss!  Back to my own bed, all made up and comfy again, so I got a good night's sleep.   We all love our own beds, hence so many RVers!


Ray and I did quite a few jobs today.   He finished mowing and weed eating, and he put another coat of paint on the back door, but we have decided that there is something wrong with the paint.  So I have to buy more.


The wireless doorbell wouldn't work, again.  Yesterday when I put new 'D' batteries in the base unit, it worked for a while.    We put another new little battery in the push button part, even though the one in there tested good, and have it working again, but I don't know for how long.  I could buy a new bell, but it took such a long time to find one that didn't interact with the two-way radios going by on the busy road behind me.


My phone had been acting up for a couple of days.  If someone called, it would just sound like repetitive little chirps.  The answering machine wouldn't come on, so I thought it must have gone bad.  No, it hadn't, I disconnected that, and it still chirped.  We went to the outside box and sprayed all the connections with contact cleaner.  No, that's not it.  We came inside, sprayed and checked each phone in the house.  We used Ray's cell to check them, as he has more minutes than I do on my $20 a month Senior plan.  

Finally, I took my printer/fax off that phone line, and that fixed it.  I used to have two phone lines coming in here, but the fax hasn't worked since I disconnected the second line.  It was handy to use dial-up when the unstable cable went out, and still have my house phone working.   The cable company says they have all the glitches repaired now, so I had it disconnected.


Now that Jim, the mechanic/welder has been so slow working on the cargo/stealth trailer, due to his bad knee, it can't be returned to the side lot for now. 


Pamala and Nigel, my sister-in-law and brother from England, have already left the Niagara Falls area.  Here is Pamala in the cabover camper they bought for this "Trip of a Lifetime". 

They should be heading to Chicago to pick up the east end of Rte 66, and arriving here in about a week. 

They will have to park at my other Full Hook-Up beside the workshop, as their rig is too tall to go in my RVport.  Probably just as well, it will be next to the tools and Nigel wants to work on his rig here, before they ship it to England.

We had marked with blocks where Jim was supposed to put the trailer on the side lot where it would be away from the power lines, so we can get up on the roof and check out the AC.


Now, the trailer will have to be parked in front of the workshop, so we put the blocks away today.


Gypsy said...

Is it really time for Pamala and Nigel to return? Their trip seemed to have just started. I hope they've enjoyed the places they've seen.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comment, Gypsy.

Time flies when you are having fun, and even faster as you get older!

Yes, it was May 30th. that Pamala and Nigel flew into Houston from England.
They have been on Route 66 from OKC to California. They saw where our mother was born in San Francisco.
They flew over the Grand Canyon in a chopper.
Then across Canada, up to Alaska, crossed the Arctic Circle, and have seen lots of National Parks (and Walmart parking lots) all along the trip.
Then they went to Guelph, Canada to visit relatives.

On to a speed boat ride at Niagara Falls, and now they are in Chicago ready to do the other part of Route 66 from there back to Oklahoma City.
Then they will drive south to here, the full circle.
We have kept in touch through Skype, and they have been posting pictures on FaceBook.

I am so looking forward to their arrival.
Happy Trails, Penny, TX

pidge said...

You are so handy. I wish I could do half of what you do. Best to your brother and sis in-law.

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

Wow.. I bet that was a trip of a lifetime! And did I read that right, they are gonna ship the truck/camper back home now?

Karen and Steve
(Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Yes, Karen, they are shipping it to England.
They already have an older Dodge 3500 and cab over camper in England, and are going to sell them.
Happy Trails, Penny, TX