Expiration Dates: A Scam to Get You to Buy More Food?

Do you pay attention to the expiration date printed on your food? Throw the stuff away as soon as you notice the "use by" date has come and gone because you're afraid it will make you sick?

Slow down. You might be tossing your groceries out way too soon ... and wasting a lot of money.

A new survey from ShelfLifeAdvice.com finds Americans unnecessarily throw out billions of dollars of food a year because they toss it too soon. That's right -- billions. That's a lot of cash. Gone. Just like that.


The report shows three-fourths of Americans think certain refrigerated foods are not safe to eat after the date on the package has passed. Those who took the survey were most worried about these five products -- milk, cottage cheese, mayonnaise, yogurt, and eggs.

But the truth is, if the foods are stored properly, most of them can be safe after the "use by" date. How much longer? Here's what the experts at ShelfLifeAdvice.com say:

Milk: If it's properly refrigerated, it will be safe, nutritious, and taste good for about a week after the "sell-by" date.

Cottage cheese: It should last 10-14 days after the date on the carton (or 10-14 days after you open it, if this period ends before the printed date).

Mayonnaise: If it’s unopened and refrigerated, it can be kept for 30 days after its expiration date or three to four months after opening.

Yogurt: It will be good 7 to 10 days after its "sell-by" date.

Eggs: If they’re properly refrigerated, they should last at least three to five weeks after the "sell-by" date.

So, waste not. Think of all the money you can save.


Image via charmgirl13/Flickr


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