Here at Cheapies we are often asked if we sell “expired” food. While we do sell long-dated, short-dated and private labeled goods, a portion of our inventory is post-dated, or “expired” goods. The term “expired” is a bit of a misnomer when describing food dating. In fact, you will never see an “Expired by” date. Why? Because food doesn’t “expire”. When a person thinks food is “expired” they often equate it spoilage – which is a natural process caused by bacteria and other micro-organisms. The “expiration” date on food is an arbitrary date picked by the manufacturer and really should be called “The Peak Quality Date”. In fact, the FDA only requires baby formula to be dated, not because it is unsafe, rather the nutritional values may decrease over time.
The Food Dating Game. What Food Manufactures Don’t Want You To Know.
So why do people think food dating has anything to do with food safety? The short answer is you have been conditioned to think so. You have been victimized by magical thinking. “The date on this can says it is good until tomorrow, but after tomorrow it instantly goes bad.” As if somehow the date on the can magically spoils the food and makes it unfit for consumption. Our blind trust in dating contributes to nearly 40% of the food produced in the US to go uneaten. Per household we waste over $1,500 per year because we, as consumers, have been duped. It’s gone so far, that I have actually seen expiration dates on doggy poo bags. We are talking about plastic bags, folks. Ridiculous.
Is Expired Food Safe to Eat?
So is “expired” food safe? Well, I don’t know about “expired” food, but I can say that “post-dated” food is very safe and fit for consumption. Think about this, when was the last time you read about a recall for canned or pre-packaged food? Now, when was the last time you read about fresh produce being recalled? The last time I heard about an e.coli or listeria issue, it had to do with fresh veggies (a certain restaurant comes to mind). Now, don’t get me wrong, people need to eat more veggies, but eating unwashed or uncooked veggies might be slightly more unsafe than eating post-dated, pre-packaged or canned foods. As long as the integrity of the packaging remains intact and the food was kept at a reasonable temperature without excessive exposure to sunlight, the food will be safe for a very, very long time. Let me put it this way, if there was a Zombie Apocalypse, and you had a pantry full of expired goods, you could easily out live the zombies – provided you don’t become their snack.
Two Reasons Why You Should By Expired Food.
Okay, you’re not going to throw away post-dated food in your pantry, but should you buy it? The answer is “yes” & “yes” – it’s gentle on the earth and gentle on your wallet.
The first reason is environmental. Purchasing post-dated food is a good way to curb massive food waste. It is estimated that 1.3 BILLION pounds of food goes to waste annual, in part, due to our misunderstandings about food dating. Let revisit that number, 1.3 Billion pounds. Insane. Sure, you might be offsetting your carbon footprint by driving a hybrid or Prius, heck, you might even cut your lawn with a push mower, but you are really doing the environment a solid when you purchase “post-dated” food. It’s practicing pragmatic environmentalism.
The other reason is economical. By purchasing post-dated food you can save well over $2,400-$6,000 annually. In fact, we have a customer who began shopping with us at the beginning of the year and within 3 months she was able to f22ully fund her family’s annual vacation. No joke. The savings are real, folks.
Purchasing “post-dated” food is a paradigm shift and takes a little getting used to. I highly recommend doing your own research and experiment by visiting your local outlet grocery store. If you’re still worried about safety, here is my advice, “If it doesn’t look right, smell right, or taste right……DON’T EAT IT”. Trust your senses, folks, they have been honed over millions of years to detect what makes sense to eat and what does not.
Here are some great links to help kickstart your journey: