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Expiration Dates
Old 07-22-2007, 07:09 PM   #1
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Expiration Dates

I go back and forth on expiration dates. There have been times when I scrupulously discarded anything past its date. Other times, I wonder whether the manufacturer is, at least in part, trying to sell more product.

I'm talking about things like aspirin, sun screen, shampoo, etc.

What's your take?
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Old 07-22-2007, 07:24 PM   #2
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I go back and forth on expiration dates. There have been times when I scrupulously discarded anything past its date. Other times, I wonder whether the manufacturer is, at least in part, trying to sell more product.

I'm talking about things like aspirin, sun screen, shampoo, etc.

What's your take?
Shampoo has an expiration date What is going to happen if you use it past that date ? Your hair will be flat .
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Old 07-22-2007, 07:37 PM   #3
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Most of those sorts of products just slowly lose effectiveness and many maintain their effectiveness indefinitely if stored in a cool dry location.

I still like the study where they dug up a bunch of really old food and tried it. Mostly a little less taste and some 'gaminess', but decades old oatmeal and whatnot was still edible.
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Old 07-22-2007, 07:38 PM   #4
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I wonder about vitamins. I was using vitamins that had expired a year ago, but bought new ones of the same kind (Centrum) last week. Maybe it would have been OK to use the old ones first.
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Old 07-22-2007, 07:41 PM   #5
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Apparently canned beers also have expiration date, but it's printed in "code", so only the retailer knows what it is.
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Old 07-22-2007, 07:43 PM   #6
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I care about dates on potentially hazardous food items. Other items the date doesn't mean much, just me evaluating the stuff and deciding whether to charge ahead or not.

The manufacturer's may short date to try and sell more but I suspect the manufacturer is more concerned about liability and tend to err way on the conservative side with their dates.
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Old 07-22-2007, 07:43 PM   #7
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I ignore the dates and just go by the mold. Somewhat surprisingly, old sunscreen gets seriously grungy.
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Old 07-22-2007, 07:55 PM   #8
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Didn't the air force or some other military entity have a bunch of old expired drugs they found tested for safety and efficacy? IIRC, many were still fine 3 years after expiration.

We have had aspirin turn vinegary. Yuck.

I know from my father's experience that nitroglycerin loses effectiveness quite fast and it would be replaced every six months or thereabouts.

I am not inclined to want to keep my emergency inhaler much past its expiration date.

Are there any drugs that could become stronger with age?
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Old 07-22-2007, 09:08 PM   #9
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Apparently canned beers also have expiration date, but it's printed in "code", so only the retailer knows what it is.
Though I don't drink beer, MANY of my friends do, and I don't think there would EVER be a chance of their beer even coming close to reaching an expiration date!!!
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Old 07-22-2007, 09:19 PM   #10
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Another data point, FWIW:

I have been a volunteer food sorter at a food bank. The only expiration dates they said to pay attention to was for baby food/formula. The rest of it we sorted and passed along to the people who used the food bank. Mind you, this was mostly canned and dry goods, not medicine.

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Old 07-23-2007, 02:54 AM   #11
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Old drugs loose their effectiveness. More important than age is storage. Drug expiration dates assume that the drug was not be shipped and stored at ideal temperatures and humidity.

The dept of defense did a study a few years ago hoping to save $$ by using old immunizations and studied lots of different kinds of drug (sorry don't have it with me). It found that drugs can maintain their effectiveness years past their expiration dates.

For serious illnesses that require scripts or antibiotics, I wouldn't use old meds (you shouldn't have those left over anyway). But, for those occasional needs: vitimins, pain killers, allergy, stomach and digestive problems, cold and flu, etc expired meds should work fine for at least 1-2 years after the expiration date, provided they have been stored properly. In the worst case, they won't work, but they won't make you ill and you shouldn't get sicker.
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Old 07-23-2007, 05:39 AM   #12
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I still like the study where they dug up a bunch of really old food and tried it. Mostly a little less taste and some 'gaminess', but decades old oatmeal and whatnot was still edible.
A submarine that I was stationed on in the mid-1980s once was issued beef with Korean War labels. At least it tasted like beef.

I guess that it was important to prevent freezer burn and to keep it below freezing. Otherwise...
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:21 AM   #13
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DW is a date code fanatic. I used to object. Now I go with the flow...
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:36 AM   #14
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When DH was in Peace Corps they received expired OTC drugs for their supplies. They were donated b/c expired, but still effective for a couple years. Just less effective over time, as mentioned.

Also the snack/junk food distributor I work for puts all the expired items in the employee vending machine, and charges $.25. Nothing more than a few months past date though.
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:49 AM   #15
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I've got a bottle of Campho-Phenique that expired in 1984. Still works fine. Probably wouldn't drink it though.
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:57 AM   #16
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Shampoo...maybe that's why my hair is such a mess.

I have a large bottle of acetaminopen, expired Oct 2005 and it still takes care of my occasional headache. There's probably 400 tablets left...I'll let you know if it still kills headaches in 2020. Never again will I buy that large a bottle!
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Old 07-23-2007, 09:10 AM   #17
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Each drug has an efficacy curve. Some drugs have a curve that falls off a cliff, others have a slow gradual downward curve.

Stuff like shampoo, face cream, etc, I just ignore and continue to use. When it comes to the kids, I probably get more frantic, for instance the youngest had a 104 fever and I didn't want to use the out of date Children's Tylenol..........

I still have some jugs of spring water in my basement from 2001. They have an expiration date, but since the water's probably 20,000 years old I'm going to keep them............
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Old 07-23-2007, 10:02 AM   #18
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I must have thrown away tons of good eggs until
I found out that eggs are good a couple of weeks
beyond the sell by date if stored properly.


Food Product Dating
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Old 07-23-2007, 10:22 AM   #19
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I just read that link Helen, it says do not store eggs in the door of your refridge, isn't that where the makers put the egg storage section? Some even come with holders shaped like egg cartons.

I use anything that's outdated except for food items that would make me ill or prescriptions that may have lost their effectiveness.
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Old 07-23-2007, 10:33 AM   #20
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The door of the fridge is not as cold as the interior
so eggs, meat and dairy products should NOT be
stored in the door... eggs should be stored in their
original cartons.
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