17 Foods That Should Never Be Eaten Beyond Their Expiration Date

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By Jonathan Trent

An expiration date is added to a food or drink item to inform you when it expires. Some people ignore this information, but you should never ignore the expiration date on the following 17 food items.

Dairy Products

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Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt may seem fine after their expiration date, but they can spoil quickly. Once they expire, they collect harmful bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella, which could give you food poisoning and lead to sickness or severe illness. You don’t want that–trust us!

Deli Meats

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Deli meats may seem edible when they expire, but The Guardian notes that even when these bacteria have grown to dangerous levels, food can still look and smell just fine. Looks can be deceiving, and bacteria could lurk in your meat, such as Listeria, which can make you incredibly ill. 

Leafy Greens

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Leafy greens like lettuce and spinach can quickly turn slimy and develop a foul odor. Although they have a short shelf life, tempting you to cling onto them for longer, consuming leafy greens after they’ve passed their prime increases the risk of foodborne illness due to bacterial contamination. 

Cut Fruits and Vegetables

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Fruits and vegetables are tasty snacks, but they can pose a food safety risk when out of date. Once cut, these foods are exposed to air and bacteria, which can lead to spoilage and foodborne illness as they are at a higher risk of contamination after their expiration date.

Canned Goods

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Many people store their canned goods away in their pantry, thinking that they can’t go bad. However, as time goes on, these canned goods can become spoiled. Although it is unlikely that they will become contaminated, they may taste different in terms of texture and flavor, so it’s best avoided.

Dry Goods

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Dry goods such as flour, rice, and pasta can attract pests and develop off-flavors, especially if they are not stored properly. Business Insider reveals that fresh (uncooked) pasta is only good for four to five days beyond the date printed on the packaging. Store them safely, however, and you may get some more time.


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Condiments such as mayonnaise and salad dressings may spoil and develop harmful bacteria. They contain ingredients like eggs and oils, which can turn rancid if left out too long or stored improperly. Although their high acidity can help preserve them, it’s still essential to check for signs of spoilage.

Frozen Meats and Vegetables

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Frozen meats and vegetables typically remain safe for consumption beyond their expiration dates, although their quality may diminish gradually. Although freezing extends the shelf life of food, it’s not impossible to go bad. Freezer burn, resulting from moisture loss, can also alter the texture and taste of the food.

Ice Cream

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Ice cream is a delicious indulgence, but you should never leave it in the freezer for too long. Eating ice cream after its expiry date could lead to health concerns, and over time, ice cream can develop freezer burn or an undesirable grainy texture, impacting its taste. No one wants that!

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

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While fresh fruits and vegetables may look fine to eat after expiration, they can spoil and develop mold past their expiration date. In particular, the BBC reports that apples generally keep for a long time, but if the skin is punctured, fungal spores can get in and grow inside. Gross!

Frozen Meals

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Although frozen meals are generally safe to eat past their expiration dates without significant health risks, their quality may diminish with time. It’s not always just about food safety; if the food degrades to a point where it’s not enjoyable to eat, what’s the point?!


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While eggs can last longer if they are refrigerated, they can still spoil, contrary to popular belief. As time goes on, the risk of salmonella contamination increases, so generally, it’s better to use your intuition, especially if the eggs smell or seem runny when you crack them.


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Leftovers are useful for those who don’t want to bother cooking up a new meal. However, they shouldn’t be consumed after a few days have passed, even if they haven’t reached their expiration date. This is because bacteria can multiply rapidly in leftover foods, leading to food poisoning.

Fresh Berries

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Fresh berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries can go bad quickly, even if they haven’t reached their expiration date. Mold growth is common on berries past their prime, posing a health risk if consumed, as mold can produce toxins that may cause allergic reactions. If they feel furry, put them in the trash!


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Seafood can become a breeding ground for bacteria when it expires, which is why you should never consume it when it expires. While this is the case for all seafood, Healthline emphasizes that shellfish should be avoided in particular, as if it goes bad, you could risk getting food poisoning!

Baby Food

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You probably shouldn’t be eating baby food anyway, but your baby still shouldn’t eat it when it expires! It may seem like it can last forever, but it also has the potential to go bad, just like any other food item, and it certainly won’t give your child the nutrients they need. 


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Last but not least, while bread often lasts longer than its expiration date, it can still develop mold, especially if it’s not sealed up properly. Moldy bread should be discarded as soon as it goes bad to avoid consuming toxins, but as long as it looks, smells, and feels normal, you should be OK.