Our family is growing in many ways... Growing in numbers, knowledge, parenting skills, growing in love, in our faith, growing our culinary skills (if you can call it that), growing without gluten (some of us), growing green...........

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Expired Food "OK"??

I get informational emails from some baby websites ocassionally. Here was the "tip" this week, from parentingweekly.com (called that because they send out weekly tips)...

Feeding your baby canned or jarred baby food after the expiration date has passed probably won't make him ill, but your baby will get fewer nutrients. Expiration dates on baby food are very conservative and are there mainly for quality purposes, not for safety; however, the nutrition and flavor of the food will deteriorate over time.

I'm sorry - WHAT?! I don't eat food past the expiration date. Why on earth would I feed my BABY food that has expired?? In fact, I give my baby the best - better than even I get. So...this totally doesn't fit in with that.

Do you really want to give your baby expired food?? I mean, even if some "experts" (I really have no idea who is actually giving out these tips, after all) say that expiration dates are "mainly for quality purposes, not for safety"????


Gwenn Mangine said...

You might not like my thoughts on this one Daisy, but I think the idea that we shouldn't use things past the expiration date is a really "American" statement.

In a country where we have the OPTION of throwing away expired food, it's very easy to say that we're not going to feed our children that food because there is something nutritionally better.

I have seen children drink brown dirty water out of puddles after hurricanes and LITERALLY eating dried cakes of MUD (you can buy them for sale right at the market in Jacmel)see: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/01/080130-AP-haiti-eatin.html.

It seems AWFULLY wasteful to throw something away because the expiration date is passed. ESPECIALLY with the information that you shared that it is most likely, in fact, safe.

Does this mean I would make my kid drink curdled milk from the fridge or meat that was rotten or had maggots in it? No, not if I had another option. I generally throw away certain items --like meat/milk/eggs, etc --if they are substantially after their expiration date. But HECK yes, I would (and HAVE) fed my kids (and myself) expired food. NO QUESTION about it.

The idea of throwing away food that has nothing wrong with it and buying newer food just because we CAN really rubs me the wrong way.

Daisy and Ryan said...


I appreciate your comments. :) And I would agree with some of what you said. You come with a different perspective, that many (including me a lot of the time) unfortunately don't often consider. That said, I don't pay as much attention to the DATE as whether or not the food is actually expired. If a food has actually expired, though - I won't eat it or give it to my kids. I HATE to waste food, though, and do all I can not to waste it. I know many ways of using about-to-go-bad foods that are safe, or I freeze things before they go bad, or I make myself eat it before it goes bad - even if I don't really want it. ;)

Baby food - I really would not be comfortable using past the "date," though. Isn't baby food that is jarred "good" for quite some time? (As in more than a year?) I don't really like that to begin with, but that's one reason I make homemade baby food. I know I'm giving Aiden fresh foods, and there are certain foods I feed him that are only organic (when possible). I don't mean to sound as if jarred food isn't good enough, but I'm more comfortable this other way - and I am able to do it. I almost added to the blog post earlier that this is one more reason I am glad I make his food instead of buying jarred. I don't have to worry about the expiration date! I freeze his food in small amounts, so it's good for a long time. And what I don't use for him - I can easily use in some other sauce or smoothie. :) So, the chance of wasting food - really is very, very small.

An issue I had with the "tip" about using expired food...there is no source at all. It's just a statement with no name, no organization, nothing. If I am going to buy into something like that (esp something I'm sure many people question), there needs to be something backing it up to let us know that there is some type of proof that this is safe. That's an issue of mine. I find it hard to trust statements that claim something without giving a source or some way to check out the truthfulness. That said, I didn't look elsewhere. I was just surprised at the tip I got in the email today. That's all.

Thanks for your point of view!! :)

Samara said...

I just wanted to throw in some of my thoughts. First, I fully admit that I do not have children, so I have no idea as to what I would do with raising one or what choices I would make. So really, this is how I feel about me eating expired food.

The expiration date is just an arbitrary date. The cookies/soda/chips that expire tomorrow are still good to eat today, but tomorrow they go bad? Uh, no. I don't eat rotten foods, but milk that hasn't been opened and has a day before the expiration date is probably going to be fine for another week or so (and with ultra pasteurized milk, it would last even longer and that is all they have in the Alaskan bush). I have also bought sour cream and cream cheese on its expiration date because the store sells it 1/2 off. This means that cream cheese that is normally $4 I can get for $2 and it freezes well for baking. I also bought a can of blackberries that expired in 2005 for a penny. It was fine. The can wasn't bulging and the berries didn't "fizz" or I had no worries about it. I think canned and jarred foods used after their expiration date is fine as long as the product hasn't turned a different color or it isn't leaking or building.

I want you to be aware that I come at this from a public health stand point. I think hot foods should be hot and cold foods cold. I use sanitizer, frequently. I look at scores given out by the health department BEFORE I eat somewhere. It is really nice in places that have to post the "grade" and score in the window. I don't cut meat on a wooden cutting board and I have a different cutting board for meat and vegetables.

With that being said, I agree that the "tip" was lame and it didn't give sources which means any one with an email address could have made up that or any other "tips' you have been receiving. I would suggest that you block those types of emails that are giving you not-so-helpful tips.

On a side note--since you have been writing about parenting styles--anyone can raise their kid in any way they want. The can do good things or F***ed up things to their kids and either way you have on control as to who they turn out to be. Yes, you can influence it. However, there are people that have done "all the right things" that have children that end up in jail and you have parents that never cared to do anything that have children that are helping the world. Just keep doing what makes you happy.

Amy said...

It's a good argument for baby-led weaning and feeding your kid whole foods, is all I'm sayin'. They eat what you eat, no worries about expiration dates at all!