shelf life rules

Shelf life rules for foods, medicines and cosmetics

We’re sure that the concept of the expiration date is familiar to everybody. Still, there are some shelf life rules for foods, medicines and cosmetics you might not know. So, is it possible to take expired medications? When it is better to throw out cosmetics? Could you store foods more than it’s written on labels?

Of course, first of all the storage period depends on the storage conditions. But let us check some less obvious recommendations.

Shelf life rules: food

Some products can be stored only at temperatures not above 40 F (about 5 C). Shelf life rules for such foods usually mean storing them 6 to 72 hours from the date of manufacture. For example, it concerns natural dairy products, chilled meat and fish, seasoned salads, cakes and pastries.

The temperature of storage of perishable products should not exceed the same range, but the period of storage is longer: from 3 to 30 days. Packed cheeses, cooked sausages, and some other products meet these recommendations.

You may safely store non-perishable goods for more than a month at room temperature. However, try to avoid excess humidity and direct sunlight. Particularly, this concerns pasta, cereals, industrial canned goods, some vegetables, caramels and cookies.

When canned food becomes dangerous?

Homemade pickles or jams are becoming more and more popular. Unfortunately, you cannot store them for years. In addition, always pay attention to mold and other signs of bad condition of your homemade foods.

In fact, most domestic canned food can be stored for about two years. Just remember to check their appearance, and to avoid direct sunlight. Do not styore products containing apricots and peaches for more than a year because of the accumulation of prussic acid.

Are there any products to store?

Certain products can be stored for a very long time without losing taste, and without becoming harmful.

For example, you may safely keep white rice for up to thirty years if there is no temperature change or humidity increase. Salt and sugar have almost no expiration date when kept in dry conditions, too. Other similar foods include dried beans and strong alcohol.

Also, some foods stay safe for a long time, but lose their taste. Particularly, it’s about chocolate, cookies or dates. In most cases, you can store industrial cans for many years.

Shelf life rules: drugs

Manufacturers of medicines have to indicate the expiration dates on all the packages. Thus, they guarantee the effectiveness and safety of the drug during this period.

Is it safe to take expired pills?

According to a study conducted by the FDA, expired shelf life doesn’t always mean the medication might harm you. In fact, it turned out that up to 90% of most common drugs are still suitable even fifteen years after the expiration date. The exceptions were only tetracycline, insulin, nitroglycerin and liquid antibiotics.

Anyway, it is better to follow the instructions and the expiration date for your own sake. Especially it concerns liquid and injection medicines, and also eye drops.

Find some drug storage tips here.

Shelf life rules: cosmetics and makeup

Normally, manufacturers define two terms: one for the storage, and another one for the use after expiry. Usually, they indicate both on a package. As a rule, expired cosmetics do not harm, by do lose efficiency. Anyway, try to follow the instructions, change your mascara every few months, and wash your cosmetic brushes often.

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