food

14 foods you never knew were safe to eat past their use-by date.

When the sniff test just isn’t enough.

It’s inevitable. You’ve barely begun the dreaded pantry and fridge clean-up. But before you know it, there’s a pile of canned goods way past their use-by-dates, something that’s more mould than cheese and expired eggs that look innocent enough but could potentially unleash horrors you will have to cut off your nose to un-smell.

We know what you’re thinking: What. A. Waste.

But it doesn’t all have to go in the bin. Some foods are actually completely safe to eat past their use-by dates. Even Carrie Bickmore and Waleed Aly from Channel Ten’s The Project agree.

We’ve put together a list of the top foods and other goodies that can be safely eaten despite their packaging saying otherwise, as well as some tips for prolonging food freshness.

1. Potato chips

All that salty goodness in your favourite potato chips does something else apart from tasting so yummy – it also acts as a preserving agent.

2. Chocolate

Good news for all those chocoholics out there – the sugar helps to preserve this addictive treat. Sometimes a white coating  – sometimes called the “bloom” – develops on its surface when the cocoa fats are exposed to air and rise to the top. But rest assured the coating is not mould and is safe to eat. So dig in, we say.

Your chocolate hoard won’t go off any time soon.

3. Bread

Bread can last months beyond its use-by date if frozen. Just be sure your bread hasn’t gone mouldy before you stick it in the freezer.

If your bread is a bit stale, try heating it up in the oven. Again, watch out for mould.

Related: The 11 things you should never keep in the fridge.

4. Milk

Your milk will smell or taste foul way before it makes you sick. To keep milk fresh for longer, close the carton quickly and return it to to the fridge (which should be set to two degrees Celsius). Avoid letting the milk sit at room temperature. Don’t drink it if it starts to curdle.

Another tip to prolonging your milk’s freshness is to keep the carton at the back of the fridge, where it’s colder, rather than in the door.

Sour milk? Use it to make pancakes.

You can use sour milk to make pancakes.

5. Eggs

You can still have your fried, scrambled or hard-boiled eggs for up to three to five weeks after their use-by date, provided they are stored below five degrees Celsius.

But a handy way to check you’re not about to eat a rotten egg is to do the float test.

Put the eggs in a bowl of water. If they float, the egg is probably full of gases and unsafe to eat. If the eggs sink, they should be fine to eat provided it is not more than five weeks after the use-by date.

On Channel Ten’s The Project on Thursday, Waleed Aly confessed to drinking milk past its use-by date and Carrie Bickmore said she ate old eggs. (Image via Instagram).

6. Yoghurt

We know bacteria is essential to making great yoghurt. So it’s really no surprise that yoghurt can actually last up to six weeks beyond its use-by date. Mouldy top? No problem – scrape it off and eat the untouched yoghurt underneath. Deeeelicious.

Related: Yes, you read that right: Woman makes yoghurt with her vagina.

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7. Hard cheese

Many cheeses come with mould in or on them. Even if the cheese has turned mouldy, it is perfectly fine to cut off the mouldy exterior and eat the rest.

But beware soft cheeses, such as Camembert or Brie. Harmful bacteria can thrive in these cheese once the cheese loses its freshness.

Hard cheeses past their use-by dates are safe to eat but beware old soft cheeses that could be infested with harmful bacteria.

8. Flour

Flour can last up to eight months past its use-by date provided it’s stored in a sealed contained. Just make sure you check for bugs.

9. Rice

Depending on the type, uncooked rice can last for months. Years, even. Cooked rice is a different story – it only lasts between four to seven days in the fridge (although between six to eight months in the freezer).

Related: Is this the food trend we’ve been waiting for? Yes. Yes it is.

10. Pasta

Who doesn’t love a good spag bol? Pre-packaged pasta will last pretty much forever as long as it’s still hard and not smelly.

food safe to eat past use by date lady and the tramp pasta
Your pasta should still be good if it’s hard and doesn’t smell. (Image via Ayay).

11. Tomato sauce

As long as you keep it in a cool and dry place or stick it in the fridge, you’ll find this popular condiment can last you up to a year.

12. Canned food

Canned food can last a whopping seven years after being bought, provided the cans are stored in cool conditions.

Found a random can of baked beans at the back of your pantry? It could be good for up to seven years after you bought it.

13. White fish

Surprisingly, white fish can be consumed up to four weeks after being caught. Just make sure it doesn’t smell fishy (in a bad way).

14. Fruit and vegetables

Common sense prevails here. Make sure you fruit and veggies aren’t mushy, mouldy or smell “off”. Lettuce is generally safe to eat as long as it’s not slimy.

For more information on how long your favourite foods really last, click here.

You can also check out what Waleed Aly and Carrie Bickmore think about eating food past its use-by date on the latest episode of The Project below:

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