Food waste and 'use within' dates

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Food waste and 'use within' dates

Postby Freddie » 30 May 2017, 2:59pm

How many of you use food, in particular jams and preserves (olives, pickles and such), long after the 'use within 28 days' on the back of the jar. I had some cranberry sauce today, it must have been sitting in the fridge for at least 3 months, yet the back of the jar says use within 28 days. Surely for something kept in the fridge with such a high sugar content (likewise salt in pickled food), then the 28 days is merely a suggestion of best quality, but much understated as far as safety is concerned. How much food that is safe to eat is thrown away because of these recommendations?

What with food waste being an issue, should manufacturers put longer dates on products that will keep far longer than 28 days in the fridge. Who else has jars of stuff that has been sitting around for 3 or 4 months with no noticeable detoriation?

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Re: Food waste and 'use within' dates

Postby mercalia » 30 May 2017, 3:21pm

well eat it and report back if you get the runs or not :wink:

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Re: Food waste and 'use within' dates

Postby Vorpal » 30 May 2017, 3:45pm

Jams and preserves are fine as long as:
-no double dipping (i.e. putting a knife or spoon back in after it has been spreading)
-it hasn't gone mouldy or smelly

I've eaten them months after opening.

It is fair to say, though, that many companies who produce these things take shortcuts, and depend upon refrigeration. They may not be properly preserved for storage without refrigeration, especially after opening.

Where the jams and preserves that my grandparents made went through a careful process by which the food was preserved in sugars or brine as it was made, Tesco's or Sainbury's own brand may not be. They produce for the optimum combination of taste and cost, not preservation. So pickled onions may not be actually pickled, but just cooked and canned in brine; 1 hour versus the tedious, days long process used by my grandparents. So, if it says refrigerate after opening on the jar, I usually do, even if it wouldn't be necessary with a traditional recipe.

On the other hand, 'best by' dates are food quality dates, not this-will-kill-you dates, so little more than common sense is needed.
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Re: Food waste and 'use within' dates

Postby Tangled Metal » 30 May 2017, 3:53pm

If the jam its mouldy I throw it otherwise I use it. Double dipping with butter/marg is the killer of perfectly good out of date jam.

Now I do question corned beef that's many years out of date. My head says it is likely to be ok but I chicken out. BTW that was possibly 15 years old. Deep cupboards and poor lighting meant it took a clear out for new kitchen to find it.

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Re: Food waste and 'use within' dates

Postby rjb » 30 May 2017, 3:56pm

note there is a distinction between best before and use by dates. Use by means just that - be very careful about exceeding this. I do occasionally but use my discretion as it applies often to dairy products whereby it may not be safe to exceed the date. Best before means that it may still be edible well after the date but may not taste perfect but is unlikely to kill you. Hope that helps you all. No comeback please if you get ill. :twisted:

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Re: Food waste and 'use within' dates

Postby [XAP]Bob » 30 May 2017, 4:46pm

Things in tims will be fun if the tin hasn't been breached.

Open it and it will rapidly be obvious
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Re: Food waste and 'use within' dates

Postby Wemmick » 30 May 2017, 8:46pm

I'm currently in correspondence with Lidl in an attempt to understand why the label on a jar of their pickled onions says 'once opened, refrigerate and consume within 3 days'. :shock:

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Re: Food waste and 'use within' dates

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 30 May 2017, 9:15pm

Jars if they are in fridge / cold larder several months.
Noticed little used jam went mouldy when the weather warmed up so it goes in fridge.
Lidl pickled onions last me about 7 - 10 days they are in fridge but expect would last two month at least as they are submerged.

We buy clotted cream from lidl and it can last a week past date in fridge, we eat it till the taste goes, then it leaves an after taste.
We are not that fussy.

A month ago we made a meal from a lidl cookin sauce, one year out of date, (after which the taste starts to go a bit), tasted perfect.

Never had a bad stomach from eating out of date stuff, if it smells bad that's different.
On another post I said we had eaten prepacked bacon a month over (we don't normally leave it that long) it was perfect.

Wonder how people managed before fridges.
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Re: Food waste and 'use within' dates

Postby Tangled Metal » 30 May 2017, 10:19pm

NATURAL ANKLING wrote:Wonder how people managed before fridges.

They pickled, canned, put into jars, made soft fruit into jams/preserves, salted, etc. Basically the same as a lot of dated products you can still buy. I think the difference is people took responsibility for themselves. They opened a jar and if the contents looked, smelt or tasted bad they didn't eat, if not they had no qualms about eating it. They also ate in season foods. Funny how fashion returns to the past for inspiration.

Perhaps we need to ignore some dates and use our senses to determine if the food is ok.

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Re: Food waste and 'use within' dates

Postby Boyd » 2 Jun 2017, 10:53pm

Odd one this. When I buy pesto (I eat a lot) it will definitely have mold on it if I "lose" it in the fridge. Although I am happy to scrape the mold off, I find I can store home made pesto opened in the fridge for six months. I use a lot less olive oil as I make it more as a paste. Difference between mine and the store bought is I replace half the basil with wild garlic (ransoms). Maybe it has some natural preservatives in it (ransoms).