Searching through the refrigerator for something to eat? Before you take a chance on that item that’s been in there for a few days (or longer!) you need to know there are some foods you should never eat past their expiration dates or you risk getting very sick. Here are 10 you should be especially careful with:
1. Ground beef. Look for the expiration date on the package and pay close attention because once you are past that date the odds increase for the meat to be contaminated by salmonella or staphylococcus aureus. We’re talking food poisoning, so avoid this painful mistake.
2. Eggs. You are safe eating eggs stored in the refrigerator for approximately four weeks after the date they were packed, which should be stamped on the carton, according to activebeat.com. If you wait any longer, you are running the risk of a very upset stomach and more.
3. Potato salad. It may seem like the perfect side dish to a lot of meals but potato salad that sits around for too long has a high probability of growing bacteria.
4. Fish. Expired fish can give you a serious infection called listeriosis. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The CDC notes that listeriosis primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and people with weakened immune systems. People 65 and older can develop severe infections of the bloodstream or brain.
5. Raspberries. Eat them within days of purchasing as they go bad quickly and start to get mushy. Once that happens, they are a breeding ground for a bacteria that leads to a disease just like food poisoning.
6. Soft cheese. Don’t try to cut off the mold. Once these cheeses expire they are a prime target for the bacteria that causes listeriosis.
7. Rye Bread. Just like soft cheese, don’t even think about cutting the mold off. Old rye bread, according to the Food Network, “can begin to grow a common grain fungi called ergot, which contains the chemicals ergotamine and lysergic acid.” Both chemicals cause hallucinations.
8. Shrimp. Look for the “best before” date on store-bought packages, says the Food Network, which adds that bacteria can start to build up as soon as shrimp is pulled from the ocean and even infect frozen shrimp.
9. Deli meat. If it’s not prepackaged it will last only three to five days, according to prevention.com. Deli meat can develop bacteria that grows even in cold temperatures and will make you very sick.
10. Mixed Greens. There’s a reason why mixed greens turn slimly and look wilted – to stop you from eating them! Baby spinach, packaged salad, arugula and similar products are breeding grounds for bacteria after their expiration date.
11. Chicken. Like ground beef, closely check the expiration date on the package. Even chicken that looks good but is past the expiration date can be contaminated by E. coli, which will make you very, very sick.