How Long Do Foods Really Last?

A major university study found that often people felt that many foods would last indefinitely.  Not so.  All foods deteriorate over time.   As soon as food is harvested, the cells begin to break down and the food begins to lose nutritional content, fats begin to oxidize, and food structure changes.  Fresher is better--and healthier.  Even with dried or canned goods, always feed your family the freshest, best packaged food possible.   That can be a challenge—we never know how long the food may have been in the distribution chain or on the grocer's shelves.

We recently purchased some dried fruit from our grocer.  We suspected that it had sat on the shelf for a long time so we called the producer.   Sure enough, it was well past its prime.  (The producer was good enough to send us a replacement.)  Was it safe?  Yes--but much of its nutritional value and palatability was gone.   

By the way, “Best by . . .” dates are misleading and highly unreliable.  It is “best” the day it comes off the assembly line.  And there is no standardization—one manufacturer may quote a date that is twice as along as another.  Finally, those dates do not reflect storage conditions, especially temperatures.  Foods last much longer in cooler environments.

We typically process our flour within 30 days of the milling date stamped on the package (and that includes transit time and the time our distributor has the flour in his possession).  Because we are selling direct and avoiding all the warehouses in the normal distribution chain, the mixes that you receive are much fresher.  We store all of our materials in a cool facility.  (We air-condition the facility in the summer.)   And Mylar is a much better oxygen and light barrier than plastic or paper. 

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