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Featured Submission: Ignoring Expiration Dates

Posted June 27th, 2009 by Peter · 10 Comments

This submission from Simmy C. highlights the Asian tendency to ignore Expiration Dates. My mom, too, did this for everything; especially milk. I hated drinking milk I knew was “technically” expired. Enjoy!


Simmy says: You know that half-empty ketchup bottle that’s been in your fridge for well over a year (or whatever the expiration date is)? Yeah the one that your mother dearest forces you to use every time you cook up scrambled eggs and complain about old ketchup. From food to shampoo, what is it with Asian crumblies and their unwillingness to part with incompletely used products? I mean, do they just not understand the concept of EXPIRATION? Maybe they don’t.

But really, probably the only time I’ve ever seen my family throw away old food is when it expirationdateeggssmelled bad or was visibly awful. Maybe I’m just a hypochondriac, and that dried seaweed that’s been around for ages isn’t at all radioactive by now.

My crumblies never throw anything away until the bottle’s empty, and quite frankly life can get utterly frustrating. But what can one little 2nd generation-er do against an army of first gens? Oh, such woe is me.

—Simmy C.

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Tags: Activities · Culture · Customs · Habits · People

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Eurasian Sensation // Jun 27, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    No doubt.
    My mother grew up in Japanese-occupied Jakarta, when you had to make do with what little you had.

    So if I ever threw out a block of cheese which was mouldy, she would fish it out of the bin (serious), cut off the mouldy bit, and then I would find it back in the fridge later.

    “It’s still good,” she would insist, scolding me for my wasteful ways.

  • 2 B // Jun 30, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    I’m definitely guilty of doing that
    Actually, in some states, by law, all food products have to have any expiration date printed on them, so a lot of companies just print expiration dates on all their products no matter where they go. Even water bottles have them, even though water doesn’t expire. A lot of food products actually don’t really expire like ketchup and mustard, but they generally have the dates on them. Honey doesn’t go bad either.
    Also, cheese is one of the few foods that you can actually cut off moldy parts and eat the good parts (wouldn’t do that with bread though).

  • 3 Anonymous // Jun 30, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Oh my God I love this post! I can’t consume anything at their house without checking the exp. date and screaming, “This expired two years ago! You’re going to kill me!” It’s not just food you know, I had to go out and buy Tylenol because it had expired. I was told it wasn’t expired, it was recently bought and it was poured into the jumbo bottle. Don’t belive that for a minute.

  • 4 Toby // Jul 2, 2009 at 10:34 am

    there was some expired yogurt in the fridge for maybe a few days and I wanted to throw it out but my dad continued to eat it. He said, it only says “best before”. lol.

    I agree with milk products and eggs and meat should be thrown away after expirty date. one day won’t make a big deal. soups and condiments are still good after expiry dates though. so much salt and persevatives in them anyway, they can’t go bad.

  • 5 Shaun S // Jul 15, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    It’s true further up the food chain too!

    I was in an Asian thrift store two weeks ago, and they were selling expired food at a major discount. I bought two medium sized boxes of Pocky for 70 cents each.

  • 6 Lee // Aug 12, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Oh, god. I have to check the expiry date on anything I am about to eat from the fridge. Half the stuff in there is expired but my mom and sister insist that they are still good. Even if it’s moldy, they will remove the mold and eat the rest. It’s so gross.

  • 7 R // Aug 21, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    The rich population in asian countries is just a small percentage. Most of the older generation (grandparents, parents. etc) who grew up very poor. Food is never wasted and is always considered good unless it was utterly rotten. Many times for our parents or grandparents they remember when they when they didn’t have food to eat. Yes if i open my parent’s fridge I can at least 50 percent of the stuff expired…especially condiments. I tell my parents they should throw it out because of bacteria and they say to me that it hasn’t killed anyone yet and I’m still alive. M

  • 8 Chinamerican // Aug 22, 2009 at 7:20 am

    Yeah, I do this. Since I have a better idea of how much cheese I will consume, I usually cut a bit off the block and freeze the rest but if it gets mouldy, I will cut the mouldy part off and use all the cheese in one go.

    Eggs are fine as long as they are refrigerated. The whites will dry up gradually but I wouldn’t worry about it going bad so long as there are no cracks. Honey never goes bad. Peanut butter stores incredibly well b/c of its low water content but may go rancid.

    With OTC meds, if it expires, I just take more of it. It seems to be the general consensus that the active ingredient is not as potent after it expires so we end up taking something like 6 advil in one dose.

  • 9 got-rice // Oct 11, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Whereas white people will throw stuff out on the expiration date, my mom is willing to take chances…

  • 10 wood pellets // Feb 28, 2011 at 2:20 am

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