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Tip Tuesday – Gone Off? Off It Goes!

Nearly every day that we sort through pantries or bathrooms, we find dozens of items that are LONG expired. I realize there is a lot of confusion about “use by,” “sell by,” and “best by” wording in expiration dates. And if it is a dry good like rice, chances are it IS fine to use. But I implore you, for most things, especially food, if the expiration date is more than a year ago, please toss it!
Here are a few specific things that usually linger too long:

SPICES: Be careful if you decant spices out of original bottles to include the expiration dates on the new container. And beware of McCormick spices in tins, they are at least 25 years old! Lots of more good advice here.

MEDICINE: This article from Harvard Health indicates that pills are still good a few years beyond their expiration date. This may be true, but if you are like some of my clients and are using aspirin from the 1990s, it may be time to toss and re-buy!

TOILETRIES: Real Simple has a good guideline on makeup and bathroom products and when to replace them here. Personally, I will be replacing my toothbrush and mascara today!

To get around the expiration conundrum, my advice is DON’T overbuy in the first place. That way nothing will get wasted and you will be able to use your items before you ever have to decipher the “best by” date.

Failing that, my best advice is “when in doubt, throw it out“! After all, is a $1.19 can of tomato paste from 2017 worth the risk to your health if it is truly expired?