Food Safety Issues/Hot Dogs
I have a package of hot dogs that have been refrigerated throughout and have not been opened The package says "use by or freeze by" by date was December 30th/2012 Can I still eat them I was thing of cutting them up and putting the in my baked beans.
The recommendation on deli meats including hot dogs is to not consume them if refrigerated past the "use by date." If you had frozen the hot dogs before that date, then they could be used upon defrosting in the refrigerator, but should be used within 2-3 days of total defrost.
The reason for the recommendation to not use hot dogs past their "use by" date is that they are capable of supporting the growth of Listeria, a bacteria that can grow at refrigerator temperatures. Because Listeria is often associated with deli meats and hot dogs, it is vitally important that these items be consumed by their "best if used by" date. In addition, once you open the package you should use the hot dogs/deli meats within 7 days, but not past the "best if used by" date. In other words, if you open the package of hot dogs on 2/16 and the best if used by date is 2/18, you should use the dogs within 2 days. But if you open the dogs 2/2 and the best if used by date is 2/18, then you can refrigerate and use them for 7 days (2/9) and any remaining ones after 2/9 should be destroyed.
For more information on Listeria, please see: http://www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/causes/bacteriaviruses/listeria/index.html