Expiration Date concerns explained

By: Katlyn Freil

Imagine you are studying late one night in your dorm room when you reach for a snack to appease your hunger. All you can find is a box of granola bars two weeks past the expiration date shoved in a corner, so you throw them out.

Many people assume that because a food is past the date on the packaging, it is bad for them, causing them to throw it out and waste money on food.

The United States Department of Agriculture stated on its website that the date is not necessarily the date the food expires, but the date through which the food product is at its best state for consumption.

“It is not a safety date,” the website said.

Connie Smith, senior lecturer in the family and consumer sciences department at The University of Akron, said that foods are generally safe to eat past the expiration date, but there are expired foods that she avoids eating. The list includes “milk that smells sour, cheese with more than a small spot of mold that can easily be removed, any other food with mold and any can that is dented or rusted.”

For college students who are looking to get the most out of their food, Smith said, “I would not be uncomfortable recommending students consume foods past the expiration date, but I would warn them to use common sense and examine the food carefully (appearance, smell, taste).”