Throw It Out, Not Up!

I just threw away a dozen perfectly good eggs.  Perfectly good according to Dr. Oz.  Perfectly capable of causing illness according to me.  The eggs were one day past the sell-by date, and, in Dr. Oz’s world, that means I could’ve eaten them for another three weeks and still lived to talk about it.  Knowing me, I would’ve been too frightened to talk during that three week period for fear that I might vomit at any random moment.  Or afraid to leave the house in case I needed to find a bathroom rather quickly.  That’s hardly worth the $3.49 carton of eggs I tossed (I buy organic – it makes me feel better knowing I can recycle the carton after I’ve pitched all the eggs inside of it.  Non-organic eggs come in those Styrofoam containers and we all know Styrofoam is horrible for the environment – puhlese!). 

But I digress. 

Here’s my question:  how do they know it’s alright to eat eggs (and cheese) for three weeks past the sell-by date?  Do nutritionists begin eating eggs day one after the sell-by date passes and then eat them daily until the day they begin cramping and retching? 

Food Tester #1 to Food Tester #2:  Yep, Ralph (bad name for a food tester), it’s definitely three weeks.  I’m here to attest to that.  Up all night with some real bad stuff going on.  Three weeks it is.  Tweet it out, my man.  Here you go – here’s some canned food that’s two years past the sell-by date.  Your turn to try it out tonight.

You couldn’t pay me enough to be the person who tests potentially rotten food.  Now my husband is another story.  He does it for free at home by relying on the smell test.   Don’t quite know how that works with a raw egg though.  In that case, he’d probably call upon his backup plan:  the sight test.  Anything green and moldy growing on it?  Nope?  Eat away.  Not me.  I come from a line of delicate digestive systems so I respect those seemingly random stamped-on dates. 

Usually. 

When creamed cheese and creamers say “for best quality use within 7-10 days of opening”, I laugh.  Seriously?  It could take us three to four weeks to finish the opened tub of creamed cheese.  And to me, if the sell-by date is still clearly visible on the tub and we haven’t seen the date come and go, it’s fair to eat.  Smell test.  Sight test.  Taste test.  I use ‘em all. 

Marge is another story.  I’m certain she stands by her fridge, wastebasket at the ready, waiting for the clock to strike midnight.  Tic, tic, go!  Quick, throw out the milk (did you know milk is supposedly drinkable up to three days past the date?), grab the creamer.  All of the offending food expunged.  About once a week she calls me with this question:

Marge:  If your eggs were up five days from now, would you use them today?  Oh, never mind.  I already know what you’d say.  Of course you would.  I’m calling your sister to get her opinion.  It’s a miracle you haven’t killed anyone in your family yet.

It’s all relative.  To Marge, I am flirting with death because I use my eggs right up until that sell-by date.  To my husband, I am wasting a perfectly good carton of eggs because I bow down to the sell-by gods. 

But it got me thinking:  what do those people do who have chickens in their backyard and homegrown eggs at the ready?  Obviously, they don’t stamp each one as they gather it.  How would you ever know when to throw those darn eggs away?  That’s just a little too organic for me.  I think I’ll stick to my cardboard cartons and pretend like I’m making a difference.

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