The Food in Your Fridge Isn't as Safe as You Think

refrigeratorEarlier this summer there was big news about food expiration dates and how their arbitrary nature makes us waste a lot of food. As a complete and utter freak about food safety, this made me question my freakish ways a bit and wonder if I am being ridiculous when I won't eat food anywhere close to its expiration date, much less after it.

I can't say it's actually made me eat any expired eggs, but I've at least felt a little less fearful eating them a couple days before that lurking little date. But now, along comes information that makes me fear foods that I'd never even given a suspicious eye to previously. Just what I need.

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A recent article on FoxNews.com outlined some of the basic life spans for the foods in your refrigerator -- many of which don't have expiration dates after you remove them from packaging and cook or freeze them. It said that failing to throw foods out can make you and your family sick. Some of them shocked me, and I'm more than guilty of violating them.

For example, there's cheese. Here's one that's never scared me much. I figured blue cheese won't kill you, so if I find mold on a brick of cheese, I just cut it off and use the rest. Probably not the best idea, according to these guidelines. They say cheese is only good for one week (feta!) to two months, and once mold is visible, the whole piece is dangerous. Yikes. Guess I'm not buying cheese at Costco anymore.

Another shock -- wine. Sometimes I won't finish a bottle of white wine on a given weekend, and just leave it in there until the next Friday rolls around. It has never bothered me, but apparently it could as you're only supposed to leave open white wine in the fridge for three days lest it start turning on you. Lesson here: Bottoms up to prevent waste.

Frozen food is probably my biggest offense when it comes to these guidelines. I usually assume that any food I freeze is safe ... pretty much until I choose to use it. But they say most frozen foods can't even keep for six months -- frozen vegetables and bread go bad after three months, and ground beef isn't good after four months. Now why did I get that extra freezer again?

Part of me thinks these are extreme guidelines, and if my family and I haven't been falling ill regularly to date, why change what's working? Then there's that little food freak in me that's just itching to do a clean sweep of my fridge and freezer.

Do you violate any of these food safety recommendations? Will they make you change your ways?


Image via bradipo/Flickr

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