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Junk Food

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You’ve probably been here before: you open your refrigerator and look at an item you bought awhile back just to see if the expiration date has passed. If it has, then you look at it, smell it, maybe even taste it to see if it’s still good. Well, there are certain foods you can do that with and certain foods you shouldn’t gamble with. Here’s 5 foods you should never eat past their expiration date.

1. Packaged Meat (chicken or beef)

Much of the fresh raw meat sold in stores like raw steaks, hamburger meat and packaged chicken cut on site, can be contaminated with Salmonella, E. coli, and other bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses, and should be consumed or frozen by the use by date. That’s to ensure bacteria has no chance to multiply. But even before the date, you need to be careful by making sure you cook your meat to the appropriate temperature. The greatest risk is posed by ground beef, says Levy, as it’s handled more during processing.

2. Leafy Greens

This goes for pre-made or pre-packaged salads, bagged, and loose leafy greens. Even though many of these are prewashed multiple times, studies have shown that they still have a tendency to carry bacteria like E. coli, as they’re handled so frequently, says Levy. Always wash these prior to eating, and don’t eat past the date, or once they begin to get slimy—whichever comes first.

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