I think that this timely article about the freshness of canned and fresh foods is very important, especially NOW, right before the 'stink might hit the fan--time.' I found out the hard way that even in the American Army, good food wasn't always easy to get over in Vietnam. I am not complaining or speaking negative --- only telling the truth as I know it. For one thing, we all suffered from 'sleep deprivation' while in combat, for several reasons that I will not mention now.... but many folks back home could see that we aged quite a bit after a year or two in combat. It's not too uncommon to see soldiers coming home in their early 20's with some grey hair, but we all looked very skinny ! So here is what a day was like in the outfit that I served with on my 2nd tour with a 'kick ass Aviation Company.' Early in the morning the platoon sergeant would wake us up according to the "mission" we were individually attached to that day, so let us look at about 0600 or earlier. Right then and there we had a chance to go eat at our Mess Hall so early, but many times we just didn't have that much time to eat, so we drew our "C-Rations" at the Flight Office, whee careful planning took place for all the missions that day. But that kind of "food" was usually stale in 1968- 1970, and left over from the Korean War of early 1950 era/ time.... and way past due. I highly doubt if there was any nutrition in it, and most of it tasted nasty to me and most others, IMHO. Now the gunners and crew chiefs needed to find their ship [Helicopter] in the dark, get their weapons, and M-60 machine guns, etc. out of the locked gun "safe" on the flight line and in the so-called, "Sugar Shack" and haul them to their respective ships protected in the 'revetments' [protective- sheltered area on the flight line], and then go thru the "Daily Routine Check" to make sure that the choppers were ready and up to snuff for flying all day, and the guns were mounted on the ships with plenty of ammo. We stored and used our M-60 ammo in "Mini-gun cans" that weighted 120 pounds when full. So then the entire flight took off at a prescribed time, with the gun ships -- the Charlie Model ships, taking off first/ earlier because they could not fly as fast as the Huey 'Slick' ships, the "H" model Hueys. We could do/ fly at 90 knots, top speed, if we needed to. Then, according to our daily, individual missions, we would land at the place where the Infantry outfits stood to be our PZ -- 'pick up zone,' and then carry them into combat, dump them off to 'do their thing... fight and kill' as we got our collective asses up, up and away, doing as many 'insertions' as needed for the day.... and then we would land some where, rest, refuel, and wait for further orders on the ship's radio, etc. At the end of the day, or the combat zones/ mission AO, we would again pick up the Assault Troops and carry them home near their various bases of operation--- base camps. Good Night. Then we would all fly home, take a shower, rest.... but many times the Mess Hall was already closed so we went without supper, too many times... and we came back home to America a totally different man, and very slim in most cases.... 'lean, mean, fighting machines' -- lol.
Now, it so happened in the Vietnam War [NOT conflict or Police Action ! !], that one day we were in combat/ jungle/ war, and the very next day [after our year long tour was done] we were on a huge Jet going home to the States, with no time or place to "de-program" ourselves or slowly recover from the '100 MPH combat merry-go-round of war !!' Past wars were much different with a huge sea going ship slowly coming home where combat troops could be together, share stories and slowly let go of their highly charged emotions and dangerous activities. But the good, hard fighting troops that were in Vietnam suffered a 'cultural shock' of intense killing warfare and living in a primitive society where the farmers were still plowing their rice paddies with a Water Buffalo, and indigenous populations still fighting with cross bows, etc. ---- the age of Jets, refrigerators, AIR CONDITIONERS, and fast autos, etc., and the girls back home were wearing their new mini skirts up to their butts almost ! Wow ! And so, we were prone to some super emotional flash backs, anxieties... the whole nine yards of readjustments for many years to come. And try to explain that to your parents, siblings, wife or girl friend.... but it was almost impossible, so many of us crawled into our 'own little world', and if were really blessed, we found the Lord, and the Holy Spirit helped us sort things out... but that all took time, too many failed relationships/ marriages, and missteps galore.
Personally, I found religion, albeit false religion [but later finding my Lord and the KJV Bible !], and got into motorcycles to occupy my mind, plus wood working/ carpentry, welding, and finally a good steady job at AMC, in Kenosha, WI., that got bought our latter by Chrysler. I did good by staying with that j0b for over 30.5 years and a pension, but when laid off I had many other jobs to support my family and beautiful children, Barbara, Andy and Sarah. And the Holy Spirit helped to calm my own spirit... PTL. I patiently await the Lord's coming, and the RAPTURE ! In the mean time, ALL CHRISTIANS are charged to help share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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What about a really amazing sale on a packaged food? Sometimes that good sale is a last-ditch effort to clear out the product before the date. Should you still buy it?
When sorting supplies for my recent relocation, I discovered to my dismay that a couple of items had passed their expiration dates. I was determined to find out whether I needed to throw these items out, or whether the expired food could still be safely consumed.
What You Need to Know About Expiration DatesAre you sitting down?
The dates on the packages? They don’t mean much of anything.
The only foods that are required by law to have expiration dates are baby food and baby formula. Everything else is voluntary or arbitrary. Although I have suspected this for quite some time and even wrote about it in Make Dating Your Preps a Habit, I decided it was time to dig in a bit further and look for facts rather than supposition.
So what are all of those dates printed on food containers?
The website Eatbydate.com defines the terms in an article called The Big Myth.
So with all of this being said, it seems like the dates don’t mean a whole lot. We must rely on our common sense to determine whether or not the expired food is still good to eat. If it smells or tastes “off” it isn’t worth the risk, particularly in a survival situation in which medical assistance may not be available.
- Best Before Date – The “Best Before Date” is, according to the manufacturer, the last date by which a products flavor or quality is best, the optimal time of its shelf life for quality. As noted above, the product may still be enjoyed after the “best before date.” Additionally the manufacturer may call this the “Best if Used By” date or the “Best By” date, which indicates that the quality of food might diminish after that date, but it is still good to eat and the shelf life is still active.
- Use By Date – The “Use By Date” is the last day that the manufacturer vouches for the product’s quality. The use by date is the date the manufacturers recommend to use the product for “peak quality” in the food. So you may eat the food after the use by date, but it likely is not going to be at peak quality.
- Sell By Date – The “Sell By Date” on a product is the items expiration date, the end of its shelf life at the store. This is the last date stores are supposed to display the product for sale, after the Sell By Date the stores should remove the product, the Shelf Life has expired. Although the food product may be used and enjoyed past this date, it is not recommended to purchase a product if the Sell By date has past.
- Shelf Life – The “Shelf Life” of food is used in reference to these common codes (Use by Date, Sell by Date, and Best Before Date). The Shelf Life depends on which code is used and the type of product in question. Please see the specific page for your product to determine the proper shelf life of food because the Shelf Life is different for each particular item!
Heather Callaghan of Natural Blaze wrote:
Yogurt and deli meat can last a week to 10 days more than the “sell by” date. Salami at two to three weeks. Most fresh meats, especially poultry and seafood, should be cooked and eaten within days. Eggs a whopping five weeks after expiration. When in doubt, gently place eggs in a big bowl of cold water filled to the top. If the eggs float, toss them. If they “stand up” that just means they are not as fresh but are still okay to eat.If you are curious about the safety of a specific food, Eatbydate.com has a database search function that can help. Simply type in the name of the product and hit search. It will bring up a list of articles that will provide information to help you make your decision. I searched “pasta” to determine the safety of a package that had been tucked away and exceeded its date by nearly a year. I found an article with the following chart, that provided variables
Packaged items can last a long time after expiration but after months you may notice a staleness and waxy taste which could be rancid oils. Packaged and canned items can generally last a year or more after the stamped date.
The key to keeping storable foods the longest, is cool, dry and airtight. Canned goods included. If you see bulging cans – do not open! It’s rare, but it could be botulism..
The bottom line is that expiration is perception and to follow your nose and your gut. If something smells or tastes funny, do not risk it! Common sense and intuition are our friends.