Common sense is only common if you’ve thought of it: NY Times food safety fail

Common sense should prevail. If food has been sitting in the back of the fridge for weeks, if it’s slimy or smells funky, get rid of it. As the saying goes: If in doubt, throw it out.

quote-common-sense-is-the-collection-of-prejudices-acquired-by-age-eighteen-albert-einstein-56324That’s the best the New York Times can do on guidelines for when food goes bad.

They offer the standard guidelines and buy into to we waste food philosophy (I compost).

  • A “sell by” date indicates how long a store should display a product on its shelves. Foods can still be tasty and are safe for several days longer if stored properly.
  • A “use by” or “best if used by” date comes from the manufacturer and refers to taste and texture, not safety.
  • An “expiration” date is the only packaging date related to food safety. If this date has passed, throw the food out.

Bob Gravani, a professor of food science at Cornell University added some knowledge to the article by saying that looking closely at food isn’t a good way to check for spoilage, because bacteria are largely invisible.

This entry was posted in Food Safety Policy, Other Microorganisms and tagged , , by Douglas Powell. Bookmark the permalink.

About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time