Most grocery shoppers won't buy a food that's being sold past it's 'expired' date. But many of those same consumers apparently have no qualms about eating food that's gone past it's expired date while it was on their kitchen shelf.
Researchers at Baruch College in New York City sent 165 students home with a yogurt that was past it's "best if enjoyed by" date, but still safe to eat. Those who were told they owned the yogurt were nearly three times more likely to eat it than those who assumed they had been given it as a gift.
"Our results help explain why a person might consume expired food that they found in the fridge, but not consume expired food found in a friend's fridge," said Lauren Block, the co-author of the study.
Nutritionists quoted in the Washington Post newspaper say fresh foods don't suddenly go bad after an expiration date, but at that point bacteria starts to grow and ruin the quality of the food. Canned food has a much longer shelf life, and is far less likely to spoil from bacteria. But after the expiration date, the texture and flavor of canned food is likely to become poor.