We’ve every taken a swig out of a milk carton that’s a pair days past its expiration day without consequences. Which makes us wonder: execute these dates really average anything?

"Expiration dates are something world find confusing and with good reason," says Don Schaffner, a professor the food scientific research at Rutgers University. "There space expiration dates, best-by dates, best-before dates — and also there’s not really a the majority of standardization approximately what those every mean."

In fact, Schaffner states expiration days are mostly based on product quality, not contamination risk, and often they’re collection by law that’s not always based on the ideal scientific evidence. Because that example, milk produced in Schaffner’s state of brand-new Jersey has actually one expiration day if it’s offered within the state, however that same milk is stamped with a different expiration day if it’s sold just across the state line in brand-new York.

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Still, there space some drinks that food scientists just don"t take opportunities with. Here’s what they say could turn possibly dangerous.

Anything Raw


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E. Coli is the virus most commonly associated with unpasteurized drinks, but it’s not the just one. "Unpasteurized milk can support listeria growth, even in the refrigerator," says Kathleen Glass, associate director the the Food research Institute at the university of Wisconsin-Madison.

Pasteurization kills pathogens by heating up milk (and various other beverages) to a temperature greater than that which bacteria can withstand. This was traditionally done in a gigantic vat, wherein milk to be heated to 145 levels for 30 minutes, follow to the worldwide Dairy foods Association.

These days, the an ext common technique is high-temperature, short-time pasteurization, i m sorry cranks increase the heat to 161 levels for 15 seconds, adhered to by rapid cooling — which kills potential pathogens and also makes beverages lot safer to drink.

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Interestingly, unpasteurized apologize cider (which ferments over time) might actually become safer past its expiration date. "If your apple cider was contaminated v E. Coli," defines Schaffner, "the bacteria would actually die quicker at room temperature since the cider would turn to alcohol and also kill it."

100% vegetable Juice


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Fruit juices often tend to it is in acidic — think apple, grape, orange, and tomato — and acid is a great protection versus foodborne pathogens, Glass says. Acid renders it harder because that bacteria come survive. Fresh vegetables juices that aren’t blended with fruit juices, ~ above the other hand, are much more likely to come to be contaminated past their expirations, making castle unsafe to drink.

Cold Pasteurized Drinks


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Cold pasteurization death bacteria in food without using heat. There space several techniques of cold pasteurization, however high-pressure handling (HPP) is the one most commonly connected with fresh juices.

It works by applying intense press to currently bottled beverages to kill off potential pathogens and also extend shelf life, yet it’s not a replacement for thermal pasteurization.

"Cold pasteurization is not rather as effective," states Glass, "and the shelf life that cold pasteurized juices is still shorter than those pasteurized through heat, especially if lock don’t save on computer fruit."

Beverages stored Improperly


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It’s typical sense that anything friend buy in the refrigerated ar of the grocery save is going to go negative faster 보다 the shelf-stable stuff. Maintaining things at the right temperature is key. Together a food safety educator, Glass can’t aid looking at refrigeration thermometers at the grocery store.

"I have actually been recognized to uncover the manager and also ask concerns if ns think miscellaneous is off," she says, note that even your frozen refrigerator at home can reason trouble. "I constantly make sure my fridge is in between 38 and also 40 degrees. Anything above that renders it much easier for bacteria come grow."


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