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Food Safety Issues/Spiral Ham Two Days Past "Use By" Date

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Question
We received a vacuum-sealed Hillshire Farm Spiral Sliced Ham
As a Christmas gift. We received it on 12/21 and put it in the refrigerator (still sealed). Opened it tonight and noticed it has a "Use By" date of 12/23 (two days ago). The ham has a slightly "tangy" taste but I don't know if that means it's bad or if I just don't care for this brand of ham! Is it safe to eat ?

Answer
Hi John

Good question.  A "use by" date on a perishable product like ham means that the product should be consumed or frozen for future use by this date.  Since you used the ham 2 days past this recommended date, there is a possibility that it was showing signs of food spoilage (off flavor, texture or color).  While these signs are not in themselves harmful to consume, they may be hiding more dangerous food borne illness bacteria which are not detectable by taste, smell or sight.

Go by your instincts that "tangy" is not a desirable taste in a ham and don't eat it.  While it may still be perfectly safe to consume, off flavors are an indication that all is not right in the world and that you probably shouldn't be taking a chance at consuming the ham.

Happy New Year.

Carol

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Carol Schlitt

Expertise

I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.

Experience

I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc - www.safeandsavorysolution.com

Organizations
National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

Education/Credentials
BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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