With the exception of infant formula, the laws that the FDA administers do not preclude the sale of food that is past the expiration date indicated on the label.
Recently, the Wife threw away some baby aspirin I was taking because the expiration date on the package had passed six months earlier. I knew instinctively that it was not necessary to toss them, but I wasn’t sure why. Then I came across this letter to Mark Evanier from a reader that shed some light:
Reading about… the bit about the expiration dates on the low-dose aspirin you found there, don’t worry about it. Most pharmaceuticals do not go bad (note I did not say all). Many drugs including aspirin never go bad unless the various ingredients somehow precipitate out and separate themselves from the other ingredients…
Stable medications like aspirin are still effective for years after their “expiration dates.” Aspirin (just to keep it on topic) didn’t have an expiration date at all until it became a requirement.
Yes, requirement. The Food and Drug Administration back in the late ’60s or early ’70s issued a requirement that all medications have an expiration date, usually five years after a drug is manufactured or packaged, unless the medication itself warranted a shorter time span. In many cases the five year timeframe had nothing to do with the effectiveness of the medication. My late father, a pharmacist for 50 years, jokingly speculated that it was simply to force him to replace old pills and keep the drug companies in business.
The Wikipedia article on shelf life touches on the topic as well. WebMD took on Do Food Expiration Dates Really Matter? Perhaps not: the FDA notes : “With the exception of infant formula, the laws that [it] administers do not preclude the sale of food that is past the expiration date indicated on the label. FDA does not require food firms to place ‘expired by’, ‘use by’ or ‘best before’ dates on food products. This information is entirely at the discretion of the manufacturer.
This post explains the difference between expiry date (the UK English term) and Best Before date. The former tells “consumers the last day a product is safe to consume. You should never consume food after the expiry date.” Whereas Best Before date is designated by the manufacturer when “the product reaches peak freshness. The date does not indicate spoilage, nor does it necessarily tells you that the food is no longer safe for consumption.”
This is not just an academic observation. From The Atlantic : “In 2010, U.S. supermarkets and grocery stores threw out 43 billion pounds, or $46.7 billion worth, of food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).” And much of that food was edible.
“Food that is tossed out is a meal that a hungry person will never be able to enjoy. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization reported… that [there are] 795 million people without enough food to eat. For reference, about one in seven Americans lack reliable access to food, and an extra 15 percent in saved food could feed over 25 million Americans…”
Another factor in this calculation involves how food is stored. The folks and Groom+Store have put together Your Guide to Food Storage for Healthier Eating. To cut down on food waste, check out the section Ways to Rescue Foods that Are About to Go Bad.
Oh, I’ve had a LOT of bad roommates. In New Paltz, NY, I had two guys, both named Mike, who, for some reason, hated each other. I mean, throwing chairs at each other disdain. I ended having to play interlocutor for them.
Any of my roommates who smoked inside; that was a drag. (Pardon the pun.)
I had one roomie who wasn’t bad, but his estranged wife calling at 4 a.m. was no fun.
I was in loco parentis for a 17-year-old when I was 25. THAT was a mistake. And the third roommate was an artist, so when I’d walk into our apartment, I’d get yelled at by people I didn’t even know because it made some nude model in the living room, who I didn’t even know would be there, cold.
Romantic entanglements muddle the question. There have been people who were great in sharing the space, but emotional stuff got in the way. Or conversely, the Wife, who is otherwise great, but puts away my stuff so that, not only I can’t find it, but SHE cannot.
My best roomie was probably my first one in college, Ron, who was tidy without being oppressive, and we left each other’s stuff alone.
When someone has a pooey spouse or SO, what do you do? Butt in, say nothing, or some other option? Why?.
Pooey? Really? What does that mean?
Well, it depends on what way they are “pooey” AND how my friend feels about it. Are they just loud, or obnoxious, or have crummy politics? I can overlook that.
If my friend has a jerk for a boyfriend, I’m not going to say anything, unless he/she brings it up. That is unless I believe the friend is in danger of being harmed, or kids in their care might be imperiled.
I’ve actually been in the situation a few times, usually women in relationships with men who were not worthy of their time and energy, though the reverse has also been true. The guys were emotionally abusive, but not physically.
There’s always that tricky line between being helpful, and being patronizing. Adults have the right to make bad decisions unless real damage is possible. And what is “real damage”? One tends to decide this on a case-by-case basis.
Now, I have also been involved when someone was actually abusive and was supportive in getting her away from him.
You wanna give me some examples? *** Arthur inquires:
What ONE thing always pops into you head when you think of your university years?
For some reason, the phrase “your university years” made me wish I had a tweed jacket.
Anyway, it is the college alma mater:
New, New, New Paltz… New, New, New Paltz… New Paltz is good enough for me. I ain’t gonna work and I ain’t gonna study, Just gonna toke up with my buddy, New Paltz is good enough for me!!!!!!
OK, it wasn’t the alma mater. In fact, I could not tell you the NAME of the alma mater, if you offered me a million dollars. THIS song, though, was well known on campus in the 1970s, since it was such a druggy school, and, as it turns out, it still is. This news surprised me because the narrative is that the administration was “cleaning up” the school. *** Thanks to all of you who participated!