Created: March 30, 2020 09:38 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—With hoarders nearly emptying shelves at grocery stores, some people weren’t left with many options. However, if you have some foods in your pantry or refrigerator, you might have a lot more to eat than you’d realize.
A local registered dietician nutritionist, Shelley Rael, said the expiration, sell by, or best by dates are more for quality assurance from the manufacturer than anything else. The food can still be safe to eat months after the said date as long as you haven’t opened the containers or packages.
Rael said that’s the case for pantry foods like pasta, rice and canned goods.
When it comes to refrigerated foods, she explained that milk, yogurt and cheese can be safe to use past the date if they are unopened and stored properly in the fridge.
“Once it’s opened, all bets are off. The dates are no longer relevant. Milk will start to turn. Once yogurt is open, things will start to grow in there. Same with cheese,” she said.
Any precooked foods or take out has to be eaten within four days, but you have extra time when it comes to frozen prepared meals, vegetables or meat.
“Most things in the freezer can last a year. Ideally, we’re using them within four to six months, but if it’s in there a year, it’s still good,” said Rael.
She said it might have some freezer burn but it can still be cooked, although the flavor might not be the best.
As for fresh fruits and vegetables, those can last for a week but the nutrients start to break down early.
The one thing that does expire on the said date is baby formula—all types.
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