Food packaging safety: How to look for spoiled or dangerous foods at the store

Learn how to appropriately shop for food items that are not spoiled by checking certain key factors so you do not buy rotten or expired food.
Many times upon entering the grocery store in this hurried age, we don’t get a chance to check what the quality of our food is or if our food has expired yet and is rotten. However, there are certain points that one should rely upon when purchasing food items from the store. Namely, these are the expiration stamp, the packaging condition, the smell and appearance of the item.

The location of the expiration stamp on most items is solely based on the type of packaging the food item is preserved in most affectively. If the food item is liquid in all likely hood it will be in a bottle or cardboard with wax lining and the expiration stamp will be either on the paper sticker label or on the bottom of the bottle/cardboard container.

How to look for spoiled or dangerous foods at the store

Depending on the type of liquid do not buy it if the expiration date is less than a week within the date of your purchasing the item. If the food item is dry in most cases it will be contained in a box or strong plastic packaging. The expiration date on this item would be on the bottom of the box and as with the liquids expiration date is solely judged on the type of item it is. If it is powder such as milk powder it can last more than a year but if it is cocoa powder less than a month is the best bet. Items like flour and sugar last more than a year as well. As for frozen items their packaging is usual in a box or plastic packaging style. The location of the expiration stamp is usually closer to the UPC bar code. But frozen items usually have longer “shelf” life than liquids and dry foods; that is they survive longer in a freezer.

The following applies to both liquid and dry food items. For the packaging condition of liquid, dry, and frozen items you should make sure there are not tears or punctures on the container that holds the food item. Especially for bottles make sure the cap top is indented and does not have a raised bump on it. This indicates that it has been opened previously by someone before you picked it up. For cereals and pastas make sure the item is not opened at the top.
As far as the smell and appearance of the food item, this is the step that requires the most preplanning mostly for packaged items where you have just the reliance of a “expiration date check” not for vegetables, fruits or meats that with one whiff of the nose you can tell right away if rancid or not. Make sure that you take a receipt with you upon leaving the store (having purchased the item). Upon buying the item and opening in your home, smell it and make sure it is fresh. If it smells rancid, looks spoiled, or has foreign objects in it, return it within the same day or at least within three days depending on your grocers return policy. Take your receipt with you.

If you follow these rules, you should be serving fresh and healthful food to your family in no time at all.

Subscribe Scroll to Top