Can I eat this: Expired shelf-stable food edition!
August 4, 2013 2:07 PM   Subscribe

I have four packets of Tasty Bites with an expiration date of July 30 (or in the case of the Trader Joe's version, the even-more-vaguely-worded "End of July"). If I eat them over the next ten days, will they probably be safe or am I likely to drop dead of botulism?
posted by rednikki to Food & Drink (11 answers total)
Those are generally "sell by" dates, not expiration dates. Assuming they have been stored properly, I would not hesitate to eat them.
posted by Tanizaki at 2:11 PM on August 4, 2013

I'd eat.
posted by something something at 2:13 PM on August 4, 2013

You're fine.

Also, there isn't any botulism in the US food supply.
posted by Justinian at 2:18 PM on August 4, 2013

Best answer: I ate Tasty Bites that expired, no joke way over year ago last month. No ill effects, tasted the same as usual.
posted by charmedimsure at 2:18 PM on August 4, 2013

(Scientific subjects of two kayakers, eating one Madras Lentils, one Peas Panner)
posted by charmedimsure at 2:19 PM on August 4, 2013

As long as it appears to be airtight, it should be fine, or at least free of Clostridium botulinum (bacteria that makes botulism toxin.) It should have been heat-processed during manufacturing to kill that stuff off, and no more could have gotten in because it's sealed.
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:20 PM on August 4, 2013

It's been less than a week; if a shelf-stable product was dangerous that close to the printed date it's lawsuit territory.
posted by dekathelon at 2:22 PM on August 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

Assuming the packages are in good shape (no leaks/corrosion/etc.), I'd eat it anytime this month.
posted by easily confused at 2:37 PM on August 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

We also ate some expired ones last week on a camping trip---I think they had expired in April or something. No ill effects and they tasted fine. I'm still debating whether to eat the ones that expired in june 2012. They're probably still fine and we'll eat them.

I wouldn't think twice about eating ones that expired just a week ago!
posted by leahwrenn at 6:14 PM on August 4, 2013

I used to work for TB. Product is shelf-stable for 18 months from date of manufacture. In reality, it is much longer. Like another 12 months longer, minimum. Also, the standards that TB uses in the manufacture of their products, are exceptional.

One of my job functions was customer service. I took calls from customers, and quite a few would call and say they had already consumed product that had expired (the most extreme one had eaten some from 1999) and none of those people had reported any ill effects. Of course, I would not recommend eating something from 1999, but that one was the record, and we kept a record of every customer call.

As long as the package is not bloated or damaged in any way (pinholes, tears, etc), you should be fine.
posted by sundrop at 7:03 PM on August 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

I just went back to work after a long absence and one of the first things I did was throw away all the expired emergency food in my desk. But I totally kept the boil-in-a-bag Indian food with an April 2013 expiration date, because I don't consider that actually expired.
posted by looli at 7:17 PM on August 4, 2013

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