We’ve every taken a swig the end of a milk carton that’s a couple days previous its expiration day without consequences. Which renders us wonder: perform these dates really typical anything?

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

In fact, Schaffner claims expiration dates are mostly based upon product quality, not air pollution risk, and also often they’re collection by regulation that’s not constantly based top top the ideal scientific evidence. For example, milk produced in Schaffner’s state of brand-new Jersey has one expiration day if it’s sold within the state, however that same milk is stamped with a various expiration day if it’s offered just across the state heat in brand-new York.

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Still, there room some drink that food scientists simply don"t take chances with. Here’s what lock say might turn potentially dangerous.

Anything Raw


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E. Coli is the pathogen most commonly associated with unpasteurized drinks, however it’s not the only one. "Unpasteurized milk have the right to support listeria growth, also in the refrigerator," states Kathleen Glass, combine director of the Food study Institute in ~ the college of Wisconsin-Madison.

Pasteurization kills pathogens by heater up milk (and other beverages) come a temperature higher than that which bacteria can withstand. This to be traditionally done in a large vat, wherein milk to be heated to 145 levels for 30 minutes, follow to the global Dairy foods items Association.

These days, the an ext common method is high-temperature, short-time pasteurization, which cranks up the warm to 161 degrees for 15 seconds, complied with by rapid cooling — which death potential pathogens and also makes beverages much safer to drink.

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Interestingly, unpasteurized apple cider (which ferments over time) may actually become safer previous its expiration date. "If her apple cider was contaminated with E. Coli," defines Schaffner, "the bacteria would actually die faster at room temperature due to the fact that the cider would turn to alcohol and also kill it."

100% vegetable Juice


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

Cold Pasteurized Drinks


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Cold pasteurization kills bacteria in food without utilizing heat. There space several methods of cold pasteurization, yet high-pressure handling (HPP) is the one many commonly connected with new juices.

It works by using intense press to currently bottled beverages to death off potential pathogens and also extend shelf life, yet it’s no a replacement for thermal pasteurization.

"Cold pasteurization is not fairly as effective," says Glass, "and the shelf life that cold pasteurized juices is still much shorter than those pasteurized through heat, specifically if they don’t save fruit."

Beverages save on computer Improperly


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It’s typical sense the anything you buy in the refrigerated section of the grocery store is going come go bad faster 보다 the shelf-stable stuff. Keeping things in ~ the right temperature is key. As a food safety and security educator, Glass can’t assist looking at refrigeration thermometers at the grocery store store.

"I have been known to find the manager and also ask questions if ns think miscellaneous is off," she says, noting that also your frozen fridge at residence can reason trouble. "I always make sure my fridge is in between 38 and 40 degrees. Anything over that makes it simpler for bacteria come grow."


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