Health MATTERS:  Shelf Life – keep or toss?


Do you ever throw food away prematurely?  The packaging tells you it’s time to chuck it, but it still seems okay.

Confusion over food dating has led 91 percent of us to throw food away too soon according to a 2013 report from Harvard Law School and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Some foods can stay fresh well past their “expiration” dates. Here, SIX ITEMS YOU SHOULD NOT BE SO QUICK TO TOSS.


Eggs:  Pay no attention to the SELL BY date on your carton – it’s meant to help retailers manage turnover and is not a measure of freshness.  Eggs should keep for three to five weeks in the refrigerator.

Cereal/Granola: Boxes typically come printed with a BEST BEFORE shelflife3date, but it’s a conservative estimate set by manufacturers for peak quality.  Those Cheerios can stay fresh for up to three months if you refold the inner bag tightly.  I make my own granola and it keeps (if I don’t eat it beforehand) placed in a glass container in the fridge for a few months without compromising the quality or taste.

Apples: Store your favorite reds in the fridge (place them in a plastic bag; poke a few holes to allow air to circulate), and they’ll still be good to eat three weeks later.

Deli Meat: you can keep unopened packages of sandwich meat in your fridge for two weeks – even if the SELL BY date has come and gone.

Bread: ignore the BEST by or SELL BY date.  Placing your loaf in the fridge can extend freshness by two weeks.  I end up freezing mine and taking out what I need which can extend the life for a few months.

Milk/Cream – if you buy it in a glass bottle instead of a carton the life can be extended for at least one more week.

Also, a good way not to waste food is to not buy too much at once….but we already know that.




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