At some point you've probably wondered whether it's safe to eat or drink an item in the fridge or pantry that is past it's expiration date. According to ReFed, an organization working to reduce food waste, confusion over expiration dates accounts for about 20% of consumer waste of safe, edible food. It turns out that many foods are actually fine to consume past their expiration dates, and some can even last indefinitely. Here are some guidelines to help you determine how long to safely keep and consume food:
Bread: Toss out when it's moldy. Freeze it to make it last longer.
Canned foods: Up to five years.
Cheese: Hard cheese is safe to eat when there is mold on it- just cut the mold off. Soft cheese should be tossed when it is moldy.
Cereal: Safe indefinitely
Chicken: Two days (refrigerated) if raw, and four days if cooked.
Eggs: Good refrigerated for 4-5 weeks
Fruits and Vegetables: Good unless they are slimy or moldy
Meat: If it is slimy, sticky, or has a bad odor it should be discarded. Color change does not necessarily mean it is bad.
Milk: Good up to five days after the expiration date on the carton.
Oil: Generally good for a year if stored in a cool, dark place
Pasta: Up to 1-2 years after the sell by date on the box.
Rice: White rice is good for up to 4-5 years, and brown rice is good for up to one year.
Yogurt: Good for a couple of weeks past the expiration date if no mold.
By reducing food waste you can save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions - according to the UN, thirty percent of all food is wasted globally, which contributes 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions.