Canned foods

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by redvan, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. redvan

    redvan

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    My wife is under the impression that the "best by date" stamped on the bottom of canned products such as soup and such means it needs to be thrown out after that date.

    I say that is only a guideline as to the best taste and by no means should it be considered an expiration date.

    Can you clarify this please...

    Red.
     
  2. genemachine

    genemachine

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    Well, to argue from common sense, I won't turn bad at midnight of the "best by" day. On the other hand, if in doubt, throw it out. I guess it it mostly a legal thing - if you consume it after that date, the manufacturer would probably not be liable if it indeed went off.
     
  3. maryb

    maryb

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    Best by manes "best flavor by" not expiration by. Like the expiration on eggs, I sometimes go a month past it.
     
  4. redvan

    redvan

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    Ok , I'm older and I recall a time when canned goods were stocked in fallout shelters for who knows how long.

    So now-a-days, when when should canned products be tossed?

    (I seem to also recall my father telling me to toss any can that was puffy at the ends otherwise, it was good to eat.)

    Red.
     
  5. genemachine

    genemachine

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    Yup. If it is puffy, that means there is overpressure in there. That comes from bacteria doing their thing and producing gases. Which is a Bad Thing(TM). So those ones are to be thrown out indeed. Now, let your friendly neighborhood biochemist drone on for a bit: A well canned can is essentially sterile - if not - bacteria, puffiness, through out. A well canned can will not spoil due to fermentation. However, what is in there is biomaterial, i.e. a highly complex mixture off chemicals. Some enzymes might have some residual activity. Reactions are going on, albeit slowly, very slowly. So, quality degrades over time. I don't know when you *should* toss stuff - as Mary does, I go over the best before-date of eggs regularly. Heck, most of the eggs I have don't have a best-before date. They come from the neighbor's hens... If it looks ok and smells ok and is well sealed, it should be ok. Don't sue me, if it isn't though. Sue the producer, pretty please. You may hire the firm I work at for that ;)
     
  6. michaelga

    michaelga

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    best before means exactly that..... best before!

    not - you die if after....

    Every manufacturer sets its own best before date guides.  It can represent any of the following:

    - best flavour before

    - best nutritional content before

    - best consistency before (think noodles in soup)

    - best colour before

    etc. etc.

    Manufacturers are not held to any "standard" with regards to best before dates.  There are some 'generally accepted guidelines' but they are just that, nothing more. (some local jurisdictions may make regulations but they are not widely accepted and hardly ever enforced)
     
  7. redvan

    redvan

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    Thank you all, that was a big help.

    Red.