Two-week old yogurt? Milk that expired four days ago? Sardines past their “sell by” date? Is a food that has outlived its expiration date OK to eat? Chances are, it is. The dates on your groceries indicate only when a product is at peak quality, not whether it’s safe to eat, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The fall season calls for tailgates, backyard barbecues and picnics in the park. But these festive occasions can also set the stage for food poisoning, especially if you have an autoimmune disease. Here’s how to stay safe.
“Bacteria breed faster in warm temperatures,” says Ben Chapman, PhD, an assistant professor and food safety specialist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. “And there’s a greater risk for contamination when you prep and eat food outside.”
People with autoimmune forms of arthritis may be particularly susceptible. Their disease and some medications, including disease-modifying drugs and corticosteroids, can weaken the immune system, making it harder to fight off harmful bacteria.