Most foods have an expiration date for a reason, and many do pose legitimate health risks if eaten past the point where they are fresh. Salad greens, for example, can quickly become repositories for bacteria once they begin to wilt and become slimy. However, there are some foods that absolutely should never be eaten after the expiration date at the risk of serious health consequences. Among the food items you absolutely should never eat past its expiration date:
Whether you’re shopping at a questionable corner deli or eyeing that package of meat you bought a week ago that might still be OK to eat, consider that processed deli meats are great hosts for E. coli and Listeria bacteria. E. coli can cause diarrhea and abdominal cramping, and illness from the disease typically will resolve itself within about a week. Listeria, on the other hand, is more dangerous: complications from a listeria infection, according to the Mayo Clinic, can include a blood infection (septicemia) or meningitis, which is an infection of the membranes and fluid that surround the brain.
Deli meats ideally should be consumed within three days of purchase but should never be eaten when the meat is more than a week past purchase or beyond the expiration date on the package, whichever is earlier.
Because they have so much nutritional value, are versatile and are fairly inexpensive, eggs are popular sources of protein. But perhaps because of their popularity or because of the risks of eating old eggs, they are one of the most common sources of foodborne illness in the United States. Eating eggs that are past their expiration date can lead to an unpleasant, painful and embarrassing array of gastrointestinal symptoms, which range from gas and bloating to diarrhea, but it can also lead to food poisoning.