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Food Safety Issues/Outdated Jimmy Dean Delights chicken sausage


Daughter & family went on vacation & asked good ol' Mom (me!) to clean out the fridge for her. Some food obviously was ready to pitch, other items iffy. The Maple & Brown Sugar Chicken Sausage Patties has a use by date of 9/15/15; the Applewood Smoke Chicken Sausage Links has a date of 7/2/15. Pretty sure I do not want to try those! Neither package had been open, both kept in fridge till now. What do you think?
There also is an unopened gallon of organic milk dated Sept. 17. I am thinking maybe I can use it for pudding (??)to get rid of it more quickly since I just had bought a new gallon of milk for us this morning (good for a long time yet). Shoulda waited!

Dear Carol,

You are a good mother....

Poultry products are especially vulnerable to supporting the growth of food borne illness microorganisms and thus they should not be used past their "best if used by date" if they've only been in the refrigerator.  You can freeze poultry products up to the date, defrost and use immediately but that is the only time that you would be consuming a poultry product past it's best if used by date.

Both the chicken sausage links with a 7/2/15 date and the chicken sausage patties with a 9/15/15 date should be pitched since they are past their use by date.

Milk is usually acceptable to use up to 1 week past the "sell by" date on the carton.  Of course you need to check it for any off odors or flavors and if noticed I would pitch the product.  The milk can be used in cooked products such a puddings, cakes, etc and you could make products with it and then freeze them for future use -- since you have a whole gallon to try to use quickly.

Good luck cleaning out the fridge!


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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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