There’s nothing more annoying than looking forward to a hot cup of tea after work, only to discover your milk’s out of date.
But how closely should you pay attention to expiration dates?
A lot of people closely adhere to the date on the packaging of their favourite food.
But in most cases the dates shown are just guidelines that give a loose idea of when you should eat your food.
Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule, for example baby formula should never be used after the date on the packaging.
But there’s some room for interpretation in most other cases.
Your hot brew might be alright to drink yet.
Most milks are alright to consume up to one week after the date on the carton.
However this does depended on the type of milk you buy – generally, the higher the fat content the less long they’ll last.
If you’re unsure give your milk a quick sniff to check if it’s gone sour.
You can probably ignore the date on your egg carton altogether, since they’re usually safe to eat for weeks after the date printed.
Of course, the further away from the date you get, the less fresh your eggs will be, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t eat them.
The float test is a good way to check if your eggs are ok to eat if you’re unsure – pop your egg in water and if it tilts upwards or floats, throw it away.
The dry pasta in your cupboards will be alright for up to two years past the expiry date.
But if you’re a fan of fresh pasta you should only eat it up to five days after the date on the packaging.
Once you’ve cooked your pasta you can safely eat it for up to a week, but can last for up to eight months if frozen.
A lot of hard cheeses are ok to eat long after their expiration date.
Even if your cheese grows mould you can usually just scrape it off and it’ll still be ok to eat.
Cheeses like camembert or brie often grow white mould, which is fine to eat, just keep an eye out for orange, blue or green mould on this type of cheese since you’ll no longer be able to eat them.
For blue cheese keep an eye out of any mould that gathers in one place – bright, veiny mould is fine to eat.
Salt, pepper, flour and baking soda and sugar are all okay to eat for quite a long time, this is because of the lack of moisture.
That said, if your fry ingredients give off a strange smell as this could indicate a pest infestation.
Raw meat, poultry and fish
Raw meat and poultry will only last for a couple of days in the fridge, but storing it in the freezer is a great way to prolong this.
You can keep a frozen whole chick or turkey in the freezer for more than a year, which is great for Christmas time.
However frozen ground meat only lasts up to four months in the freezer.
Raw fish can last up to nine months in the freezer, while smoked fish can last no more than six months.
Bagged veg and fruit
Bagged salad might start to look a bit sad after their expiration date, but if it hasn’t been too long they can usually be saved by submerging in ice water for a few minutes.
When it comes to frozen fruit and veg they’re usually good for up to 10 months past the printed date.
A lot of canned foods can last for up to two years past their expiry date, especially soups and vegetables.
Some canned food, like Spam, can even last for up to five years.
That said, canned tomatoes and pineapple generally wont last as long because of their high acidity levels.
This story originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced here with permission.