1. If There's Mold
"If the item has mold, toss it," says certified holistic nutrition educator Niki Wells over email. "There is one exception to this rule, of course: cheese. If your hard cheese gets a spot of mold, it's still considered safe to consume. Just cut off 1 inch around the molded area. If a soft cheese develops mold, it should be thrown away."
2. If It Has Been Unrefrigerated For Too Long
"Prepared foods that have been left out of refrigeration for two hours or more should be thrown away," says Wells. Same goes for eggs, raw meats, fish, shell fish, and dairy products.
3. If It Smells Weird
"Use your senses," says Clyde. "Food will smell bad before enough bacteria could grow to make you sick."
4. If Your Can Has A Dent
"Your pantry staples are good for years," says Wells. "If the item has an expiration date, then pitch by this date. If a can has a dent, it MUST be pitched. Consuming canned food that has been dented puts you at risk for botulism."
5. If Your Food In The Freezer Has Crystals
"If foods in the freezer have ice crystals, this means they have been frozen and defrosted several times and could potentially have harbored the growth of dangerous microorganisms," says nutrition expert Toby Amidor, MS, RD over email.
6. If Your Meat Has Discoloration
If it doesn't look right, get rid of it. Toss your meats if you find brown, black, purple, or other types of discoloration, says Amidor.
7. If Anything Appears Slimy
It's OK if your fruits and vegetables don't look pretty anymore, but if they feel slimy, throw them away, says Wells.
When it doubt, toss it, but it's good to know the tell-tale signs that your food has gone bad.
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