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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Caveat Emptor, Grocery Bargain Shoppers

I  first typed "carpe diem" for the title. Now, that is not a bad sentiment--to seize the day-- but this is a warning to those who bargain shop for groceries.

"Buyer Beware"

Nor long ago, at a smaller store in my quest for bargains, I found Miracle Whip for $1.29 for a quart/30 ozs. in the ads I search. I did check the date on the jar. I use lots of Miracle Whip, so according to the date, I could buy more for later or just buy one. I know the food is not expired!

Well, I looked at the use by date and it was two weeks away. I had just opened a jar of MW and would not finish it in two weeks! Plus, I had another jar on the shelf. I was planning on buying at least three at $1.29 and I had coupons! I never want to be out of Miracle Whip.

This incident caused me to check use by dates more carefully when things were on sale. I ate a can of tuna two years past the date on the can. It was fine. It had gotten shoved back on my shelves. However, I did not want MW to go runny, or off tasting even if it was still safe to eat! MW is the staff of life around here. Just kidding.

Plus, when I get a sale on canned goods, I do not want to be buying many if the cans are near the best-if-used-by date. I might buy two cans of green beans close to their date. Might!

This one event is the thing that has caused me to price-match because WM food from their warehouses turns over so quickly. The other store had been offered food from a warehouse and took it for a sale. I have found too-good-to-be-true prices in other smaller stores have the same problem.

Even if the food is near the date on the merchandise, sometimes I do buy it, knowing it will not be used by that date. It depends. Each person can make the decision on what they can deal with eating and how much there is on hand of that item in the home.

I won't purchase it or accept past-date, but if I have it on hand, I will eat it if the can is in good condition. Now, I am not talking decades-old cans.

Oh, I would not serve it to my children or grandchildren without my children's permission.

Dominique gave me an egg today!

UPDATE: Anne mentioned coffee. Here is my coffee story.

Your turn
Do you ever check dates on sale cans and find the food is two weeks from that date? Would you do a stock-up with cans close to the date on the can? Will you eat the food in your own stock if it is past the date?

12 comments:

  1. I pay very little attention to 'use by' date. On something like Miracle Whip I might be more cautious, although I just opened a jar that is one year past the date and it is just fine. The 'best if used by' date is merely a suggestion. And a gimmick to get customers to throw out perfectly good food and buy more of their product. If a can isn't rusty, if it isn't leaking, if it isn't bulging, it is fine. There may be a little bit of nutritional loss over time, but otherwise I have no problem using it. I have home canned food that was canned in 2010 and it is as good as the day I canned it.

    I am not telling anyone else to use food past the date - just that I see no problem with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vivki,
      Bulging, leaking cans are the only thing to worry about. I did use an out-of-date mac n cheese that was gross, so I gave that to Dominique. If I had MW that old, I would at least give it a try.

      Delete
  2. All the stats say the food packers err well on the side of caution with the sell by/use by food dates. I will buy many products close to or past use by dates, depending on the product. Dairy, not so much but regular items sure. Once I bought 20 pounds of coffee exactly on the use by date for 89 cents a pound. I figured since they were all vacuum packed it would be fine so I stuck it in the freezer and used it for a couple of years. After it was gone I was kicking myself for not buying twice as much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anne,
      I found coffee on sale and bought it two different days. I added update link at the end of the post. I bought many more than the 30 in the post.

      Delete
  3. I love to shop salvage food stores. I dont look at dates of expiration.But the only thing that was bad was a jar of mayonnaise.

    ReplyDelete
  4. carol,
    Even if the mayo is still good, it separates and does not taste good. I am glad you only found one bad item.

    ReplyDelete
  5. As mentioned by Vicki and Anne, sell-by, use-by and even expiration dates are set by the manufacturer. That date is supposed to ensure the product is at the highest level of taste and nutrition. The ONLY food product with required expiration/sell-by/use-by dates, by Federal Law, is Baby Formula. Still, I go by the smell & look test and of course no bulging, dented or leaking cans. Haven't figured out a test for boxed items. Plastic bagged items, like bread, are a simple look and squeeze test.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bellen,
      I have quality in boxed packages are mixed. Cheese powder does not age well...yuck.

      Delete
  6. Once I was buying cake mix that was four for a dollar. A lady reached over my shoulder and said this expired a year ago and put it back. Didn't bother me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. carol,
      Add less than a half tsp of baking powder. The only problem bug eggs that may have hatched because they were there to begin with. No bugs=just fine.

      Delete
  7. I recently found a yogurt dated for mid-January. It went.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. urspo,
      Good call. That is a bit too old for me.

      Delete

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