Out of Date Food? Yay/Nay

Do you ever risk out of date food?

I understand there are different levels here, a day, a few days… but I’m not talking about best before dates, purely use by dates only. For example, milk that expires today, would you still drink if the next morning? Would you still cook meat that was used by the day before?

The ozbargain in me says don’t waste food. So I’ve pretty much always consumed milk the day after it’s expired, I’ve never been sick in 10 years. Same with meat. The way I see it is, 24 hours after the date I’ll chuck it. Does anyone go further?

My other issue that I contend with is that i’m not in a position where buying $2 of milk and throwing away the remaining 50c is worth me risking food poisoning given I don’t have financial problems.

Curious to hear other people’s opinions.

Poll Options

  • 31
  • 154
    A day or two
  • 93
    More than a few days


  • +28

    Sniff test for milk and meat in general.
    Rub test for bacon (although occasionally I'll wash it if it fails the test but I really want it).

    Use by dates are only a guess. Sometimes food goes off before the date given and sometimes it is good for a few days after.

    • +10

      i sniff anytime its near the date - sometimes the milk is even off a day early.
      I've got a pretty good nose for it and it tends to work out. I can even tell when the milk is about to turn and my wife can't - she says its fine, then sure enough, later that day or next morning it smells bad

      • -1

        I dont drink milk.

    • +1

      What is the rub test for bacon?

      • +7

        ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

      • +1

        If it has a slight slimy feel then it has a bacteria film on it. You can still eat it if it hasn't been slimy long, just wash it under a running tap and rub the film off. Probably better not to if it has more of a film / has had a film longer than a day or two.

        (It will still be wet if it is fresh but your thumb won't be able to move over it so easily if fresh & no film)

  • +10

    I generally avoid consume perishable food after used by date as the date is pretty accurate. As for pantry food, as long as they feel, smell and taste fine, I'll keep them.

  • +10

    Trust your evolved nose - if it smells remotely different from normal then chuck it. Do a better job of shopping and buy less, freeze more if you have to.

    • Unfortunately my job involves a lot of ad hoc unplanned travel which can put me away from home unexpectedly and sometimes for unknown lengths of time.

      When it comes to food purchases I usually only buy for the night or the next. Or I buy pre-prepared meals. But milk I can’t just buy for the next meal etc so it tends that some weeks I drink 2L, sometimes I barely drink half of it, but I don’t want long life milk.

      • +1

        I'm away from home for days at a time.

        I buy 2L and decant into smaller bottles and freeze it.

        • +6

          When diluted with water, milk can be used as a fertilizer, pesticide, and antifungal for the plants in your garden, so you can milk the most out of your purchase.

  • Depends - e.g. sometimes the milk already smells off, or it doesn't smell, but if you heat it up, it turns into this 'tofu' like texture - this can happen before the used by date.

    Buy smaller portions if that (not finish the food before used by) happens to you often.

    If I don't intend to eat it soon or before used by, I'll freeze it (e.g. meat), so by the time I'm ready to eat it, it'll be past used by date, but not worry about meat going bad.

  • +4

    Most pantry items and some sauces (e.g.soy sauce) I’m okay for it to go over

    P.S. if you have milk that’s on the edge, use it to make ricotta, super easy

    • Never thought of that. I’ll have to look into it!

  • +8

    It’s Impossible to Figure Out an Exact Date When Food Will Spoil
    We like to think there’s a quantifiable date that will tell us when food will go bad, but there are too many variables for something so simple. That’s the real problem with food expiration dates.

    How long food sits on a truck waiting to be unloaded at a grocery store, how long it’s in your car on the drive home, how long it’s on your counter before you put it away and more all factor into the timeline for food spoilage. It can even come down to your refrigerator’s temperature (which should be at 4C or below), or even where you store the food in your fridge.

    More importantly though, “expired food” isn’t guaranteed to make you sick. It just means that food doesn’t taste as good. What usually makes you sick are foodborne pathogens like Salmonella or E. coli, which can live in your food before you buy it, or even persist after you cook it if you don’t cook it properly. There’s no label or timeline that guarantees your food is free from bacteria that may make you sick. Bacterial growth is time and temperature dependent, so proper food handling is more important than a printed date. This is also why food tends to last longer in the freezer than it does in your fridge — the freezer may not kill all bacteria, but it does slow them down a bit, and halts bacterial growth. Either way, spoiled food might taste gross (and there’s no reason to eat it if you don’t have to,) but that alone doesn’t make it unsafe to eat.

    (source: Lifehacker) https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2016/09/expiration-dates-on-yo...

  • I tend to avoid meat on the actual use by date even though it’s fine, just something in me that can’t eat it.
    Most other things I seem to not care, give a good whiff or quick taste.

  • +2

    Covid started some really good milk bargains near me, but that meant I bought more than I need and stretched the useby a bit. Milk unopened and well refrigerated can go a week past the date but those last few days I would use it cooked.

  • +1

    Depends on what it is. If its dairy, propably best to be vigilant as due date is not always accurate, sometimes it goes off before by several days. Dry foods probably last up to a week past its due date. Legumes might last months past its due date. Fresh vegetables sometimes last a few days past the due date. Meat is pretty accurate for its due date.

    It comes down to experience, and freshness of the product.

    • +2

      Fresh vegetables sometimes last a few days past the due date.

      Where is the date on veges?

      • +1

        Strange thing is that while vegetables are unpacked there is no use by date but when they’re packaged there is

  • Dates are a guide only. I would argue that stuff will last longer if kept at the correct temp on the correct shelf in the fridge, not the door for example, rather than something that has been transported from place to place with ice or bricks. Does your milk go off quicker when camping if ice runs down? In this scenario, dates mean nothing.

  • Coincidentally, I was making tea this morning and the milk split. Realised that the milk was 3 days past the use by date and there was a good litre of milk left too.

  • +1

    As has been said before depends on the type of food.

  • Just putting it out there into the universe - cottage cheese lattes aren't a thing for a reason.

    • What about chicken sushi?

      • What about it?

        • I think he meant chicken sashimi

  • Just make sure you have a good supply of toilet paper

  • +2

    I take "use by" more seriously than "best before." Milk has a use by where meat usually has a best before. Having said that I've found milk can still be good a week after the "use by"!
    Even food that lasts millions of years like salt has a "best before."

  • +3

    I trust my nose over the date. Milk can spoil quickly or slowly based on how well you keep it refrigerated. E.g. if you leave it out on the counter for 30 mins then put it back in the fridge, it will go bad a lot faster, and can spoil sooner than the. 'use by' date. Conversely, if you pour it straight from the fridge, I have found it can last even a week after the date.

  • Anything put in the freezer we tend to keep for a month or two after Expiry, even meats. Things in the fridge we use to up to a week after

  • It depends….. Used by and best before are two different things.

    But basically it needs to pass the sniff test :)

  • Depends if you've kept it refrigerated etc, or if its been out for long periods of time plays into it too.

  • +1
    • depends on type of food
    • depends where it was stored
    • depends how far away was the used by date
  • +3

    Depends if it is used by or best before.
    Used by generally stick to it
    Best before I have been known to have expired stuff in the pantry for a number of years before use.

  • Think the manufacturers try their best to make the food edible as long as they are. I consider the expiry date the deadline.

  • keep it frozen it can last weeks/months longer

    as for milk if it doesn't smell bad its fine - i usually go a few days after expire date

  • +1

    Smell test. If it smells bad, it probably is, if it doesn't, it's probably okay. Animal products ie milk and meat (less so cheese) go off very quickly, especially if your fridge isn't up to scratch. Vegetables can last longer. I'm not rigid about use-by dates, they're a safe best-guess.

  • The fridge has a chiller drawer that half freezes meat so it lasts a few more days than suggested but I try to use it on time.
    If the milk is unopened I let the kids still use it for a couple of days, we only use carton milk it keeps better than the plastic bottles.

  • +2

    Skim milk: 10-12 days past
    Full cream milk: 2-3 days past

    Beef / lamb / pork steaks:
    - sniff test. Starting to turn / shiny silver / light green? Wash in cold water. Sauce it up and pan fry, or dice up and stir fry. Char the edges a bit.

    - same deal with steaks, but you can’t wash it. Pan fry it into little pieces and use some sugary marinade that will caramelise.

    Everyone has a different tolerance to what their body can handle.

  • +1

    If it is Use By I will give it a sniff test before eating. If it is Best Before I will eat it even if it is a few years out of date. I don't mess with chicken.

  • Depends entirely on the food and how I have stored it. Milk products never. Meat yes, especially if I vacuum seal and freeze. Noodles and pasta fine. Fish never. Vegies fine if I can see they are still all right.

  • It depends on the product and the date.

    I once saw packets of smoked salmon for 10c. As much as I love discounted food, that was a big nope from me.

    • Ahh the ones that fell behind the radiator!!

  • Who would be game enough to eat use by sashimi :P

  • Wet/moist food - no but if kept in freezer, yes
    Dry food - even after a year should be fine if stored correctly

  • I always do a sniff/taste test first but I’ve found my milk almost always lasts up to a week after the expiry date. Although I bought some from the servo for the first time the other week and they were spoiled a few days before their expiry… I guess they probably left them out of the fridge for an extended period before putting them away :(

  • You know what's funny. My gf is dont like drink that almond milk its 6 months old. If you actually think about it and look at the ingredients its not actually milk. It never really expires yet they put a best before date. A lot of it is baloney

    • -1

      It’s the chemicals that they put in it wear off , u for real ?

      • Yes for real - thats the ingredients nothing is going off/ making you sick

        Filtered Australian Water, Organic Almonds (3%), Organic Sunflower Oil, Salt.

  • Best before vs used by
    1-3 vs 4-5

  • Sometimes "best before" or "used by" is before opening, once opened consume within a few days.

    I'm ok with plant based products slightly going over. but never dairy or meat.

  • Bought some Speck at Aldi and promptly forgot about it. 2 months later I find it at back of fridge (sorry no photos of fridge will be provided). Use by date about 4 weeks prior. Hmm this is a sealed solid block of smoked and salted processed meat in an unopened vac seal pack so I gave it a go, no smell, no slime, no blue bits, Id argue as good as the day I bought it. I give this as an example that the use by date for many food products is not an absolute and very much dependent on the product type, storage etc.
    But its not all eternal life for Aldi food products. Just had to toss a quiche lorraine due to blue bits on top which supposedly had at least a week to go;(

  • It depends on how it's been packed, how it's been stored and what it is.

    Prepared microwave meals are okay a few days out, most meat is okay a few days out - if it's vacuum sealed or heavily processed up to a week - chicken fillets/ chicken mince etc I'm not game.
    Milk is the day of and if I'm desperate the day after. Other dairy is fine.

    Bread is by sight, but bagels/raisin toast etc go a week after their date if they are in the fridge and show no signs as they are hard as a rock.

    Best before it's case by case - most times it's okay

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