Does food expire all at once or slowly over time. What actually goes down when food expires?

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Does food expire all at once or slowly over time. What actually goes down when food expires?

In: Biology

Food doesn’t “expire” instantaneously, like midnight of the 8 day the leftover pizza had sit in the fridge. It will spoil over time as bacteria grows.

Expiration dates are part estimate of when a food item could be inedible sheet it was stored properly, part legal requirement – dependent on region ~~for sellers to dispose of the “expired” food when it reaches the listed date.~~

*The legal side is very region specific. Some states require milk and meat to be given expiration dates, Canada only has best before for the vast majority of products and it’s not illegal to sell past that date.*

But it’s not like your gallon of milk or loaf of bread is on a set timer.

Some milk jugs have the uncanny ability to last a week past the expiration date – where you’re cautiously sniff testing it every time before committing it to a bowl of cereal – or go bad several days before.

It’s a complicated mix of storing it at the right temperature, and exposure to mold spores and/or bacteria when opening it.

It but if it went bad, it gradually got to that point though spoiling agents being given enough time to make things that way – just like a plant grows over time, and not just rockets out of the soil when you had noticed.

On refrigerated food that expires within a few days, bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms are the main cause. They consume the food and produce acid (in case of milk turning sour) or toxic compounds like mold does. Since this growth is **exponential,** the transition from too small to be seen/smelt to really obvious is fast, and usually faster than the frequency at which people check their food.

In food that has a long expiration period, there are often other limiting factors than the food itself, for example bottled water expires because the plastic bottles degrade over time, causing potentially harmful chemicals to be released into the water inside.

It’s actually more of a biology question.

When food goes bad, it’s because of the bacteria or fungus growing it has reached a level dangerous to humans.