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What do you do with canned goods after the expiration date??

Started 1350681263.937 in Kitchen & Food Talk | Last reply 1350844468.78 by suzyQ3

I was cleaning out my pantry and noticed I have canned goods with a expiration date ranging from 2010, 2011, and early 2012. They are name brands of soups, tomatoes, vegetables etc. We have a charity food pantry here but I would't feel right donating expired items. I am sure the food is alright because the cans are not swollen or leaking. I would feel so bad throwing away the food. I don't know what to do...Any suggestions?

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dkh1350681469.1771133 PostsRegistered 1/4/2011Virginia

Unfortunately, throw them out. The food pantry won't take expired food. Personally, I wouldn't want to eat it either. I just had to do the same thing -- I went through my pantry and found several things waaay past expiration. I hate wasting things, but in this case, I think it's the safest thing to do. Don't forget to check your condiments in your fridge -- I found several in there past expiration too. sigh......

Living your life well is the best revenge.
Blonde, green eyes, cool with pink undertone.

Brabls1350682069.23314740 PostsRegistered 4/27/2007

Every year, just before Thanksgiving, I take a black marker and mark the expirtion date on the top of canned/dry products. Anything getting close gets pulled to the front & used. Items I have lost my taste for getting near the expiration goes to the food pantry, along with a check.

keepmoving1350682492.023216 PostsRegistered 4/13/2011

I have had to throw out canned goods too. Way too many of them, and it is a waste of money and food resources. I will go ahead and use up any that "best by" within the last 4 or 5 months, They have always been just fine. Others I throw out.

This year I spent a whole day going through my canned goods and separating them out and marking the "best by" date with a marker on the front of the can. All the ones expiring in 2012 and 2013 are in one pantry closet and that is always where I go first for canned goods. Since I like to have a good food storage, I have other canned food in crates according to the year it "expires".

I also made a spreadsheet with all of the canned goods and divided out by number for each expiration year. It was a project but now it is easy to continue marking cans and putting them in appropriate places. As I use them, oldest first, I mark them of the count list, and as I buy groceries, I add them to the list. With this system I can see what I have and what I need. I can also make sure that the canned food I have is used and not thrown away. I am basically pretty frugal and am pleased with this simple system.

Holley4Bar­rel661350684496.20335 PostsRegistered 11/28/2011
On 10/19/2012 gjc57 said:

I was cleaning out my pantry and noticed I have canned goods with a expiration date ranging from 2010, 2011, and early 2012. They are name brands of soups, tomatoes, vegetables etc. We have a charity food pantry here but I would't feel right donating expired items. I am sure the food is alright because the cans are not swollen or leaking. I would feel so bad throwing away the food. I don't know what to do...Any suggestions?

gjc57....everyone has choices...and I read, read and read and I have done research all of my life...I even found out years ago about expired medicine....I could not see me throwing my hard earned money on expensive medicines that may be used at a later date...BUT.....this is your choice... you decide what choice your going to make. http://www.foodreference.com/html/cans-extreme.html

Last edited on 10/19/2012

Last edited on 10/19/2012

suzieq41350685455.274999 PostsRegistered 7/12/2007

I would toss them as well. I have been known to use something that has just expired, like maybe 2 days ago, but I would never use something that expired longer back than that. But I feel your pain in throwing cans of food away, it seems like such a waste, but you surely wouldn't want anyone to get sick from using those.

I put my oldest canned items to the front of the pantry, so that I use the oldest first, that way I never have to throw anything away. Oh, and by the way, I have used eggs up to 4 days after the expiration date. Never had any problems with that.

seahorsey1350686905136 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

Throw it out. The items are surely not worth the cost of your( or your loved ones ) health.

best10buddy1350687209.6071263 PostsRegistered 11/6/2006

i have heard over and over again that those dates are guideline... I do not think anyone would die from eating something canned after the expiration date. i try to use things up in the allotted time -- but I do not freak out if I don't

As someone else said the same is true of meds... they are just not as strong after the expiration date--- but really not dangerous...

Of course it is personal preference...

Zcat1350687356.672700 PostsRegistered 2/3/2010Florida

How old? Month - ok. Year - no.

And, really, how much did you pay for the can of food? Is it worth it?

desertDi1350687963.0517449 PostsRegistered 7/14/2007Surface of the Sun

Charities won't accept "expired" items

January1211350688467.69739 PostsRegistered 12/13/2006NY

Be safe and throw them out ... it is not worth getting sick over .... I throw everything out that is past the expiration date ... better safe than sorry!

Baxjaxmom1350689047.5172508 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

I'm pretty rigid about throwing anything from eggs to canned goods out if past the expiration or even the "best if used by" dates. I have had food poisoning before and it has made me a little paranoid on the subject. I thought I would have to die to get better so I have a real respect for avoiding the risk. As a result, I have probably wasted a LOT of money in throwing away things that were perfectly okay. Here is a website that might of helpful to you that perhaps can take away some of the questions and concerns. If this won't open up, just type it into your browser.


DiAnne1350692597.296433 PostsRegistered 9/22/2010

I work at a food bank and we keep any canned food that is less than 1 year over expiration date. They figure the quality my have deteriorate a little but it is still safe. The only exception to that is baby food.

gjc571350693576.443254 PostsRegistered 2/2/2007West Texas

Thanks to everyone who took the time to post. I will look at the web sites that were recommended...I am going to get me a system so this doesn't happen again. I need to stop buying 6 of something when I only really need 1. I don't cook as much as I did years ago and things just get old including me....Time goes by so fast....Thanks everyone...Gail

suzyQ31350750871.08727355 PostsRegistered 3/15/2007

What a perfect argument against those who tend to stockpile.

Others can make a different choice, but I don't eat food that is past its shelf life, and I would never donate it.

If you feel bad about throwing these cans out, I understand. My suggestion would be to buy and donate a few staples that you think would be appreciated by your local food pantry.


moonlady1350751060.32714605 PostsRegistered 8/2/2007Upstate NY

When in doubt, throw them out.

Know thyself.

ROMARY 11350751131.6119994 PostsRegistered 4/28/2010

I always call the company and ask about the shelf life of a "best before" or "use by" product(s). They ask you to read the code number, and they will tell you when it was manufactured/canned/packaged, etc. and whether or not you can use the product. Very nice people, too.

Yellow Rose

catprincess1350752352.3472365 PostsRegistered 4/9/2007Rocky Mountains

Throw them out-even a food pantry won't accept them. Never stockpile food that you can't eat within a year!

4paws1350752760.79722685 PostsRegistered 7/29/2006

I toss anything after the expiration date and certainly would not donate them.

BlueCollar­Babe1350753546.66311581 PostsRegistered 9/26/2007

Federal law does not require the dating of food products with the exception of baby food and formula. However almost all companies date their products to comply with various state regs. They pick a date that indicates maximum food value. That date doesn't mean that the food is bad as of that date. Very acidic foods are good for about 12 to 18 months in a can and vegetables and other items are generally good for 2 to 5 years.

If I find canned goods in my cupboard that are a year or so past the ex. date, I still serve them. Beyond that then I'd probably toss them. But I'm pretty good about montoring our food supply so this rarely happens to me.

Abby Grace1350756568.021276 PostsRegistered 6/12/2011

We usually don't keep loads of canned stuff, and I really try to rotate food. But once in a while, if I find something past the date, I toss it.

insomniac1350757998.9138303 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

Obviously, I throw it away.


Holley4Bar­rel661350759732.19735 PostsRegistered 11/28/2011

Ladies: We do not all think alike but I would like to add this to the blog. As I previous noted we all have choices and lets hope we make the right choice for us. Canned food is not like eggs and fresh vegetables, they spoil faster, however where do we get our eggs from? Chickens...and then there is beef and pork...Did you ever worry about eating these animals? or how you cooked them? Scientists claim we do not have the digestive system for to eat meat, but how many of us do? Do you worry about how these animals are raised to produce more, antibiotics in them and then we eat there meat with the antibiotics going into our systems...Then there is the way this meat is prepared....some like it blacken on the grill. Studies have proven that blacken or well done meat is not good for us..Then there is the vegetables....all those pestides that they put on in the growning process, even organic is not a sure thing...those pestides go into our system the same as the antibiotics..are you concerned ummm? Then how many of you wear cosmetics, or bath with soap and bubble bath? How about the laundry detegent you use to wash your clothes...Your concern about what you put in your mouth, what about what you put on your skin???? Your skin is the largest organ of your body and what you put on it goes into your system, this is what causes inflammation and could to some cause disease. Then there is the frozen food issue...how many of you refrain from eating frozen food? Manufactures put chemicals to have a longer shelf life....Did you read about the costumes that were destroyed a few days ago, because they contained 11 times the safety of lead...Then there is the stoneware everyone uses with the bad paint, cracking etc etc..Do you think that these products are safe? I could go on and on about what I think a safety issue is and honestly I think that canned goods would not be on top of my list....Don't listen to all of us...do what you feel is right for you and yours...You could step out your front door and it could be all over with....Let's hope we all make good choices.

Last edited on 10/20/2012

Last edited on 10/20/2012

happy hous­ewife1350760192.52334389 PostsRegistered 1/4/2007

Every year when we go home to Pa for the summer I TOTALLY clean out the pantry and the fridge - we eat some odd combos those last few weeks but it does all get used up or tossed. So when we come back in the fall everything is bought fresh. I think even if you were not leaving town for 4 months this would be a good habit to get into once a year.

When faced with senseless drama, spiteful criticism or misguided opinions walking away is the best way to defend yourself.To respond with anger is an endorsement of their attitude. -Dodinsky

FunkyHulaG­irl1350760976.8137420 PostsRegistered 6/25/2011Wherever I go, there I am!

It's not like food knows that the expiration date and somehow magically goes from being good on the expiration date to bad the next. I don't have a problem with using stuff that's a few weeks past the expiration date (including salad dressing, condiments, etc.), but as far as canned goods go, if the cans aren't leaking or bulging, I don't have a problem with using them. Never had a problem; after all, survivalists buy enough canned goods to last for years.

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." - Albert Einstein

cab19551350762542.821201 PostsRegistered 11/17/2004southwest michigan

Sorry,toss. :(cb

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