How to Know When a Food is Still Good to Eat

Food labels are generally marked on foods to provide plenty of helpful information to consumers, but most doesn’t really know what’s the meaning behind some labels including the “eat-by” and “best-before” dates.

Eat-by-date Vs Best-before-date

Eat-by-date, sometimes also termed as Use-by-date, is labelled on foods that go off quickly. This means that these foods must be eaten or be thrown away by the labelled date. Examples of these foods include meats products (shaved meat, sliced ham), smoked fish, milk and pre-made salads. Even if the food looks perfectly good, it is extremely advisable not to eat or drink them after their eat-by-date. Check also its included instructions in the label because some eat-by foods usually spoil faster when not stored properly. Hence, consuming the food while not following its eat-by-date or the additional instructions may lead to food poisoning or other health problems.

On the other hand, best-before-dates are labelled by manufacturers to suggest when the food quality is expected to mitigate or when the food will spoil. Foods that are labelled with best-before can legally still be sold and eaten as long as it is not damaged because its label only indicates that the food may have lost some of its quality after the marked date.

How do you know if your food is still safe to eat?

Majority probably have the impression that foods that still looks good are fine to eat, but that may not necessarily be the case. There are basically around 48 million people each year who suffered from digestive problems due to food-borne illnesses.

While it may be true that rots and molds are some of the basic signs when a food goes bad, there are also other instances where it is unsafe to eat even if it still looks great. Knowing how long you can keep a food may not be as easy as it looks like because there are conditions which can greatly affect the food longevity.
Here are some tips to that will help you decide whether a food is still safe to eat.

Always check the food expiration date. Don’t be deceived on how good the food still appears to be because not all instances that it is safe from food-borne disease.

Familiarize with your food. This means that you should at least have the basic understanding of the food you eat including its main contents such as sugar or protein. Generally, foods that have more protein spoil faster compared to foods with more sugar or sodium.

Stick with the safety temperature guidelines of foods. Bacteria grow and spread faster in temperature rooms compared to low-temperature conditions. This is primarily the reason why some foods get contaminated when exposed too long on room temperature.

Look. Discoloration of food is the basic signs of rotting. Seeing blue spots in bread or green color in meats are signs that it is not safe to consume anymore.

Smell. Other than discoloration, the smell of the food can also give you a heads up if it’s still good to eat or not.

Keep it clean. Make sure that the area where you store your food is always clean and well-sanitized. This is one of the best ways to keep your food away from harmful bacteria that causes food-poisoning.