Dad’s Guide to Food Expiration

Ok, for years you have been just fine with the Smell-It test. You know, you smell whatever it is you are thinking of eating and if it doesn’t smell funny then you eat it. As a secondary indicator, you generally don’t eat anything that visibly has mold either (I hope). Anyway, the Smell-It test isn’t good enough for baby. Your stomach and intestines have had years to develop defenses against millions of bacteria, viruses, and poorly made cocktails served via funnel and plastic tubing. Your baby has no such defenses, so you’ll have to be a little stronger at the gate.

For stuff that has a date on it, follow it. Don’t fudge it or decide that one day over is fine. These dates are not exactly setup for maximum freshness, they are set up for safety, so never cross the date with baby’s food. The no good dates for most food is way shorter than you think it is, so make sure and plan ahead.

For stuff without dates follow these guidelines:

Baby’s Food – Fresh

If it’s fresh (deli counter, eggs, etc…)

  • Poultry = Expired 1 to 2 days after purchase
  • Beef, Pork, Lamb = Expired 3 to 5 days after purchase
  • Ground Meat (All including Poultry and Beef) = 1 or 2 days after purchase
  • Ham (the kind that isn’t pre-cooked) = 5 to 7 days after purchase
  • Sausage (Pork, Beef, Turkey) = 1 or 2 days after purchase
  • Eggs = 3 to 5 weeks after purchase.

Keep in mind these times are much longer if the package is sealed at the factory.

Baby’s Food Leftovers

  • Cooked Poultry = 3 to 4 days
  • Cooked Sausage = 3 to 4 days
  • Hot Dogs = DON’T FEED YOUR BABY HOT DOGS! CHOKING HAZARD! For toddlers over 24 months = 1 week
  • Lunch Meat = 3 to 5 days after opening

Want to see it from the government? http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Focus_On_Shell_Eggs/index.asp

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