Best Before Dates

Am so pleased this thread has given me the opportunity to share this nugget I recently learned:

I have some sausages that have been in the freezer a while, and although virtually all food that you buy fresh and then freeze says ‘use within one month’ (which I broadly adhere to), I am sure I remember when I was growing up my mum having meat in the freezer for like six or nine months.

So I google it. According to something I found on a food safety website, although some foods may lose flavour or texture when frozen for long periods (e.g. chicken dries out), in its words “frozen food is safe to eat indefinitely”. Is this true?! Has anyone tested this theory? This sounds fantastic but I am far too scared to try it, although I will probably be less vigilant about throwing away frozen food in future.

On certain types of foods best before dates are basically made up, some food doesn’t go off. Chocolate for example (when the fat blooms to the surface that’s to do with the way it’s been stored, it’s not “off”). I used to work for a food company, we would periodically sit around the office and eat food from the sample cupboard that had gone out of date. The older sales people would talk about how they’d eaten canned food that had been untouched since the war, etc.

In the staff shop at work, next to the frozen stuff there’s a notice from Unilever (or one of those food companies that owns everything) stating that the best before date on frozen goods is a waste of ink.

Judge it by eye, not the date

  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Red meat
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Fruit and veg
  • Cupboard stuff
  • None of these

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By eye can include a prod or shaking an egg by your ear, btw

Judge by nose can be a pretty good indicator, especially for chicken, milk etc


I will expand to all senses other than taste. Happy?

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I remember a guy at Uni who used to buy a whole chicken and freeze it. Whenever he wanted chicken, he’d defrost the whole thing, cut the bit off he wanted to cook, then refreeze it. Fucking grim, but as far as I know he’s still alive.

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Hm, never occurred to him to cut it up THEN freeze it?

Kudos for still being alive though.

Why didn’t he just cut the whole thing up before freezing it?

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No idea. He was a friend’s flatmate so never had chance to ask.

I think probably one of the worst food related things I’ve ever experienced was when I was living in halls at Uni.

The fridge freezer broke and everyone was asked to move their stuff out of it while we waited for a replacement. Somebody must have left some meat in the freezer because when they came to remove it a few weeks later, this putrid meat juice spilled all over the carpet in the hallway. It smelled like death :nauseated_face: I spent days scrubbing the carpet with disinfectant, but nothing would get the smell out. Luckily I was due to move out a couple of weeks later, but even >10 years later that smell still haunts me.

Doing a big poo

From a previous discussion:

So yeah, it’s totally fine. I’ve often found something at the back from years previously and eaten it. The main problem is if you open a packet of something and don’t wrap it up properly when you put it back. You then get lots of ice crystals forming around the food which makes it soggy when you defrost it and (depending on the foodstuff) often makes it unpalatable, but is still completely safe to eat.

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Yes, 100%.

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This is one of the biggest revelations I’ve ever had, like discovering aliens exist. Mind. Blown.

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Similar. Moving into a house a couple of weeks before the second year of uni started and finding a freezer half full of meat that had been left there by the previous student tenants. No idea how long the electricity had been off in the weeks that had passed between then leaving and me arriving, but, same as you - it still haunts me. :nauseated_face:

This happened to us too :frowning:

This world.

I’ve got a PAYG electric meter. It quite often runs out and everything goes off. Sometimes i’ll be at work and it’ll go off for hours, or it can go off and i’m away. It was off for a week once when i was on holiday. I don’t really buy frozen food, but there was a load in the freezer from years ago that other people must have bought. A mate stayed with me temporarily and i told him to help himself to food and toiletries, etc. He demolished most of the freezer. There was stuff in there that was five years old at least. There was allsorts in there, including fish. There were admiral pies in there that would have thawed and refrozen several times over, and he ate them and he was absolutely fine. Stomach of steel. Madness.