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Food Safety Issues/Safetly of Eating Lunchmeat five weeks after expiration date


I just ate a couple slices of Oscar Mayer ham luchmeat. Shortyly after haven eaten the meat I noted that the expiration date was February 29 (five weeks ago). Am I in danger of contacting food poisening. The meat I ate tasted ok but I notice that there are a couple slices in the package that are dried out. If you feel I am at risk of getting food poisening what would you advise? Thanks

Hi Edward,

While it's never recommended to consume deli meats past their "best-if-used-by" date because of the increased chances for foodborne illness, at this point there really isn't anything you can do but wait and see.

The current recommendation for all factory sealed unopened, luncheon and deli meats is to store them in the refrigerator and once opened, use within 7 days, but not past the "best-if-used-by" date. In the future you might want to date the packages of lunchmeat when you open them with a "consume by" date which is 7 days from the date of opening.  This way you will be assured of using the meat within both the highest safety and quality time frame.

Good luck Edward.  Here's hoping that you suffer no consequences from consuming the out of date luncheon meat.  If you do notice any of these symptoms -- fever, headache, muscle-aches, stiff-neck -- contact your physician immediately.


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Carol Schlitt


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


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 -

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

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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