Can I eat it? Seafood edition
October 11, 2015 11:57 AM   Subscribe

I have an unopened (sealed) can of lump crabmeat that's been refrigerated. It expired about a week ago (best if used by date was a week ago on 10/5). Can I still eat this? Or should I throw it out?
posted by MeFiMouse to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yes. "Best if used by" is not the same as expiration. If it is discolored or smells off when you open it, or the can is disfigured in any way (these are things you should always investigate with canned food, because a bad day at the canning factory can happen any time), don't eat it.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:01 PM on October 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'd go by smell on this one. "Best by" doesn't necessarily mean "toss out after," but if the crab smells at all off (ammonia-y), I'd toss. Otherwise, lucky you!
posted by Sweetie Darling at 12:02 PM on October 11, 2015


I need to create a macro to just insert this every time: smelling something doesn't tell you if it's safe, it can only tell you if it's bad. Not all pathogens produce bad odours.

The thing about shellfish is that if it goes bad, it can make you unbelievably sick. Was this product sold refrigerated? If so, it's likely not shelf-stable, and I would pay attention to that best-before date. If it was sold off the shelf I wouldn't be concerned unless someone who is immunocompromised (hiv, chemotherapy, etc), old (60-65+), or young (under 12ish) is going to eat it.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:12 PM on October 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


fffm : yes, it was sold refrigerated.
posted by MeFiMouse at 12:20 PM on October 11, 2015


Don't eat it.
posted by mumimor at 12:23 PM on October 11, 2015


For me, my deciding metric is strongly influenced by where my feelings land on the terror-joy continuum when I think about eating something that might have gone bad. Having had some extremely unpleasant food poisoning experiences on some occasions in the past, I'm fairly risk averse at this point. I think attempting to prepare and consume it would be more anxiety-inducing than pleasant, not to mention the sunk cost of buying additional groceries with which to prepare the questionable seafood. Tl;dr version: Byebye, $16 can of crabs-meat.
posted by MeFiMouse at 12:26 PM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nope.

I ate the chicken that sat out overnight in the last "can I eat it?" AskMe I noticed. And I still wouldn't eat expired seafood.

(FWIW while "sell by" is a little flexible, "best consumed by" is not, in my book. Also a week is really pushing it for "sell by" on seafood.)
posted by Sara C. at 12:32 PM on October 11, 2015


Jesus god don't ever eat expired refrigerated seafood unless you are ACTIVELY COURTING DEATH.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:36 PM on October 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Good on you, I'm fairly risk-tolerant when it comes to food safety (though not to the levels of some on here) but seafood is a no-go for me.
posted by Aranquis at 12:47 PM on October 11, 2015


I am from Louisiana. I would never eat crabmeat that was more than two days old, max. It might be easy on your nose but I'll bet it won't be so kind other places.

Toss it.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 1:02 PM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Best if used by" is NOT a safety-related date. Eat away.
posted by zug at 1:32 PM on October 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I thought the whole point of canning something was so that it *doesn't* require refrigeration. Otherwise what's the point? But if you're dubious enough to ask the question, then no, don't do it. This falls under the principle that you shouldn't eat anything on a dare, even if you're daring yourself.
posted by Flexagon at 1:40 PM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Don't eat it. Food poisoning is not worth a can of crab meat
posted by gt2 at 1:47 PM on October 11, 2015


I thought the whole point of canning something was so that it *doesn't* require refrigeration. Otherwise what's the point?

Crab is often sold like this, which is technically canned but still requires refrigeration. The temperatures used in pasteurization can have adverse effects on texture--not so important when making a sandwich, more important when making crab cakes e.g.--so while this packaging is airtight, it's not shelf-stable.

Your basic rule of thumb with food safety is: sold cold = stay cold.

"Best if used by" is NOT a safety-related date. Eat away.

That is not always true. Example: fresh meats and fish. The date in the store is very much an indicator of freshness and when something needs to be cooked or consumed by. And food poisoning from bad seafood is really, really, really bad. Not worth risking.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:21 PM on October 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


(previously)
posted by mwhybark at 5:09 PM on October 11, 2015


Yeah, don't fuck around with this, just not worth it. In future be sure and eat the fresh crabmeat ASAP. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:31 PM on October 11, 2015


I would not eat the crab meat. How much is a new can of crab meat? Five bucks? Ten? Buy a new can of crab meat or just some fresh crab meat. "Best before" suggests to me "worse after" and life is complicated enough without introducing gradually-worsening crab meat into the mix. Don't eat old crab meat from a can. This isn't Fallout.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:58 PM on October 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


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