MANY foods are safe to eat past their sell-by date.
But one nutritionist has warned that there are some that are better off in the dustbin.
Snacks like ham, brie, and even fresh fruit can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting.
But they and others can also lead to more serious bacteria like Listeria, Brucella, Salmonella and E. coli, which can be deadly.
According to Jenaed Brodell, founder of Nutritiona and CoHere’s what to avoid to prevent health problems.
It is best to avoid deli and packaged meats once the recommended use-by date has passed.
Jenaed, a nutritionist specializing in sports nutrition, said: “They are susceptible to bacterial contamination, including listeria, and should not be consumed to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.”
Dairy products like milk and yogurt can also harbor bacteria like Listeria monocytogenes.
This can lead to serious illnesses, particularly in pregnant women, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, Jenaed said.
The same goes for cheese — especially soft varieties like Brie.
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“These should be discarded when they’re past their use-by date,” said Jenaed, who is also a weight management expert.
Perishable meat and poultry, both raw and cooked, are “very susceptible” to “harmful” bacterial growth, particularly salmonella, E. coli and campylobacter.
Jenaed said eating these foods past their sell-by date can increase your risk of food poisoning, so they’re best left in the bin.
5. Fresh fruit
A slightly less obvious potentially risky food is fresh fruit.
Jenaed would also avoid pre-packaged salads and vegetables once the sell-by date has passed.
She said: “These foods are at higher risk of bacterial contamination and may support the growth of pathogens such as salmonella or listeria.”
According to Jenaed, expired eggs should also be disposed of.
“As eggs age, the protective barrier called the cuticle decreases, making them more vulnerable to invading bacteria, including salmonella,” she said.
“To be on the safe side, it’s best to consume them before the expiration date.”
7. Baby food
And finally, it is “crucial” to strictly adhere to the best-before dates for baby food and infant formula.
These products are specifically designed for infants who are more prone to bacterial growth.
Jenaed said: “Consumption of expired infant formula can pose a serious health risk, so this is not safe.”
“Nutritional levels can deteriorate such that vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients critical to infant growth and development may become deficient.”
“It can also become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria Cronobacterwhich the developing immune system cannot fight.
“To make your baby’s health and safety a top priority, it’s important to follow the expiration date on the infant formula packaging.”
However, there are many foods from the pantry that can usually be consumed beyond the date stated on the packaging.
Typically safe options include:
- Shelf-stable foods such as canned goods, dried pasta, rice, and grains
- Frozen foods such as vegetables, fruit, meat and ready meals
- Hard cheeses like cheddar, parmesan, or swiss cheese
Jenaed said: “Remember that the use-by date is set by the manufacturer to indicate the period of time for the food to reach its highest quality and safety.”
“It’s important to follow these guidelines and discard any food past its use-by date to minimize the risk of foodborne illness.”
“When in doubt, it’s safer to throw out expired food rather than eat it.”
Best By Date and Best Before Date: What’s the Difference?
The best before date depends on the quality of the food and there is no harm in consuming food that has passed its best before date provided it has been stored properly.
Best before dates are important for the safe consumption of food.
The Foods Standards Agency advises that food can be consumed up to the expiration date, but not after it.
In practice, many people eat food after this point if it smells and tastes good.
However, some experts say it can still make you sick as there may be invisible bacteria.
FSA chief Emily Miles said: “It is not a good idea to eat food that is past its use-by date as these things can lead to a higher risk of food poisoning.”
“Keeping your fridge sufficiently cold, 5°C or less, will prevent bacteria from growing on your food and ensure it lasts as long as possible.”
“Also, you should store foods with a best-before date in the fridge and consider freezing them on or before the date if you’re not going to use them.”