What is a corrupt quality

This is how you can tell whether food is really bad

Status: 11/11/2020 2:16 p.m.

Every year around 12 million tons of food end up in the garbage in Germany. An expert explains when we should really throw away eggs, milk, bread and the like.

There are foods that we eat without hesitation - even if they have been open in the cupboard for months. These include, for example, rice, honey or salt.

But there is also food that we throw away too soon. The much discussed best-before date (BBD) also contributes to this. If milk, eggs, etc. have "expired" according to the imprint, many of us are reluctant to use the products. Usually completely wrong. Because with our senses and a few simple tricks, we can tell without an expiration date whether we can still eat something or whether it really has to be thrown in the bin.

Best before date and use-by date: what is what?

Basically: Just because the best before date has expired does not mean that many foods are no longer edible. Ute Gomm from the Federal Center for Nutrition explains what the best-before date actually means:

The manufacturers guarantee that the product will retain its original properties in terms of smell, consistency and color if stored correctly. This is not necessarily a spoilage date, but even after the best-before date has expired, foods can still be edible.

But watch out: If a product is marked with the note "to be used by", it is a use-by date - and that should be adhered to. Meat, fish and milk, for example, are perishable foods and should not be stored too long after the best-before date.

With the help of nutritionist Ute Gomm, we have created an overview of how you can tell whether fruit, eggs or milk are actually still edible.


Eggs have a small air bubble that grows larger as they age. There is a quick test to check the shelf life of an egg: Simply place the egg in a glass of water and observe. If the egg remains on the ground, it is still fresh. If it rises to the surface, it is spoiled. Even when opening, an egg that has gone bad can be noticed by an unpleasant smell of sulfur.



Cutting off the mold is not enough! If you discover an affected area, you should throw away all of the bread. "Here it is not directly visible when a network of mold has spread and therefore you shouldn't eat the bread", advises the food expert.



The same applies to fruit as to bread: mold cannot simply be cut off. "If fruit is moldy, don't eat it anymore," says Ute Gomm.



You can tell when you cut it: Tomatoes contain a lot of water. The problem with this is that mold can spread here invisibly to the human eye. Therefore, older tomatoes should be disposed of. If only one item is bad in a package, only it goes into the trash. The remaining tomatoes can be thoroughly washed and eaten.



Cheese usually starts to mold when it is overlaid. But luck: "With hard cheese that has matured for a long time, you can cut off a moldy area generously," says nutritionist Ute Gomm. All other cheeses that contain more water should be thrown away if you suspect mold.



In the case of raw meat, the shelf life depends on the type and degree of chopping. Minced meat or sliced ​​meat only lasts for a day, while a raw roast can be kept in the refrigerator for several days. The following rule of thumb applies here: the more surface a piece of meat offers for harmful microorganisms, the faster it spoils.


cold cuts

Cold cuts such as salami or ham are usually packaged in a protective atmosphere. If the packaging is not bloated or the contents have become greasy, you can still eat the sliced ​​meat after the best-before date. Salami bread fans can breathe a sigh of relief!



"As a rule, we drink milk that has been heat-treated," says Ute Gomm, "it no longer necessarily becomes sour." However, if stored too long after opening, the milk tastes bitter and flakes. At this point it's time to say goodbye.



Sealed jam can also be consumed beyond the best-before date. But be careful: Since many spreads now have a lower sugar content, they should quickly be thrown into the garbage can if mold forms.



Yoghurt lovers can look forward to it: if the packaging is tightly closed, yoghurt will last long after the best-before date and can be eaten carefree. Nevertheless: "Use common sense", explains food expert Ute Gomm. If something seems strange to you, you shouldn't eat the yogurt anymore. Otherwise: Happy feasting!


Expired canned food: are they still edible?

Have your canned food passed the best-before date a long time ago? This does not mean that you can no longer eat the contents. You should keep these tips in mind when testing the durability. more

This topic in the program:

N-JOY | N-JOY with Anne Raddatz | 07/28/2020 | 09:00 a.m.