The Tightwad’s Notebook: Lesson 12–Really Read Expiration Dates on Food Packages
I once almost bought a box of falafel mix from a health food store until I realized the box was sort of…um, musty (!) and the expiration date was long over. Yuck. I’ve read that making cake from boxed mixes long after the expiration date can be lethal because of mold spores (see this post by a cake mix manufacturer), and fats in dry cat food can go rancid if you don’t look at the expiration date (happened to us and our vet also confirmed this is an issue with dry cat food). My friend and I both bought frozen turkeys that had a date on it to use or freeze by the next day, and quite honestly, I wouldn’t have known unless she pointed out the expiration date!
My point being: not every product that has expired is pulled from the store shelves. You have to make sure you have a product with an acceptable date on it. I’ve even seen expired milk on a big name store shelf! With short-staffed stores, this is a reality.
I realize, though, that I made a mistake. I now have about half a dozen jars of natural peanut butter with an expiration date of October! So, we better crack open those jars! Why did I do something so dumb? Well, I bought these jars about a month ago when my family was going through a peanut butter craze which has since slowed down. I figured we would eat the lot up pretty quickly, but I was wrong and no way will I waste those great deals. So, I’ll get innovative in making (and freezing) lots of peanut butter cookies from scratch, but in the meantime, it’s now a real habit to look at those expiration dates!