Packaged Meals and Clinics - Nutrisystem, Medifast, Jenny Craig, Etc - I was given a ton of expired Jenny Craig meals, still safe to eat?

04-21-2007, 04:55 PM
Most of them expired in August of 2006. I haven't looked at every single one but that's what the ones I looked at said. They're the kind you put into the microwave for a few minutes, so are they still safe to eat 8 - 9 months after expiration?

x Yael x
04-21-2007, 06:01 PM
I would say no. There's a reason they put expiry dates on them. A week after I'd say maybe, but 9 months..I wouldn't risk that.

04-21-2007, 06:24 PM
If these are frozen dinners, pitch them, they will be inedible, however if these are dry or "canned" products (canned, or shelf-stable sealed pouches), they actually probably are still edible. Often these expiration dates, are actually "use by" dates, rather than true expiration dates. One thing you need to know, is when the items where purchased compared to the "use by" or "expiration" date. If the date listed is several years past the purchase date, even an extra year isn't going to affect quality, because the "use by" date is actually when the product will start to lose quality under the least ideal storage methods. If they were stored properly, they're probably fine, but being these were products given to you, you may not know either the purchase date or the storage conditions. You may be able to guess purchase date, based on similar current Jenny Craig products and their listed use by dates.

Still, "safe" to eat, isn't always the same as "good," since canned, dried, and otherwise preserved foods lose quality over time much more quickly than they lose edibility, mostly dependent on the conditions they were stored under. If they were stored in any extremes of temperature (excessively warm, cold, sunny or damp), they will lose quality more quickly than if stored in a dark, cool, dry space.

04-21-2007, 06:38 PM
They did not require refridgeration and it says Best Before so&so date. I think I'll try one tonight and if I don't like it I'll just give them to my sister or something.

04-21-2007, 07:15 PM
I am just lol......I love it.....the only things my SO and I fight about are politics and date codes. He is just anal about it, and I push on the edge. And then I read the part about giving to your sister, and that made me laugh again. I say go for it, but what do I know?

04-22-2007, 02:52 AM
I'd eat them -- but the running joke with me and my dad when I was growing up is that we would eat anything -- leftovers laying around, really old stuff. and cold food from the refrigerator (that's supposed to be a big no-no for food safety precautions) and we never got sick. My mom said we had iron stomachs. I buy expired protein bars from Ebay --- and eat them and I don't get sick. The only thing I think that would go wrong is that they may have lost some nutrients. My rule is if it doesn't smell bad when you heat it up or open it, eat it.

04-22-2007, 03:06 AM
Cooked/nuked and hot? If they don't smell weird once they're cooked, I'd eat them.

04-22-2007, 04:39 AM
Yep, the "best by" date is a dead give away that they are shelf-stable "canned" products, which mean if the seal isn't broken, and they've been stored properly they can last a VERY long time. The look, cook, sniff, taste test should be fine.

x Yael x
04-22-2007, 04:50 AM
Tell us how they are! I'm interested to know lol

04-22-2007, 10:36 AM
I remember having heard that canned food was safe nearly indefinitely if stored properly and the seal remains intact. Since foods can now be "canned" in plastic and foil pouches, I'm not sure if they last as long, but I did find this by googling canned food shelf life:

Canned food has a shelf life of at least two years from the date of processing. Canned food retains its safety and nutritional value well beyond two years, but it may have some variation in quality, such as a change of color and texture. Canning is a high-heat process that renders the food commercially sterile. Food safety is not an issue in products kept on the shelf or in the pantry for long periods of time. In fact, canned food has an almost indefinite shelf life at moderate temperatures (75° F and below). Canned food as old as 100 years has been found in sunken ships and it is still microbiologically safe! We don't recommend keeping canned food for 100 years, but if the can is intact, not dented or bulging, it is edible.

04-22-2007, 11:09 AM
Not sure that I personally would eat them, but I will tell you that I recently saw this tv show -- it was a huge family of maybe 10 kids with working dad and stay at home mom. The show focused on how they manage to feed, clothe, take care of that many kids. One whole segment focused on them grocery shopping -- they look for and buy expired food -- even meats. They said they are fine and they have never been sick. Obviously the stuff is marked down to half price or something.

I have been hospitalized for food poisoning before, so I'm not sure if I could overcome my visceral response to that experience to eat expired foods-- maybe a few days or month but not 6 months. For what it's worth though, some people do it.

04-24-2007, 08:39 PM
None of it's in a can. It's in boxes inside plastic-wrapped plates. Basically like a Lean Cuisine/Healthy Choice meal but it doesn't require refridgeration.

Anyway, I ended up not eating any until tonight kind of out of fear. But I decided tonight to try one! And it's not bad! It's not great or anything, but it tastes fine. I doubt it tasted much better when it was fresh, heh. It is Jenny Craig afterall. ;)

04-25-2007, 12:06 AM
Even though they're not in a can, they're still technically "canned," as heat processing is used to destroy bacteria. Only metal or glass would hold up to heat used in canning "in the old days," but modern plastics, foils, and processing techniques allow them to use the plastic containers, with the sealed tops, foil packets and even foil and waxed lined paper (like the soups and chilis you might have seen in the carton) in place of a more traditional glass or metal "can."

I think foiled packets are good almost indefinitely. The military has been using them for the MRE's (meals ready to eat) for a long time. And the plastic, I'm guessing as long as the container and seal are intact would be just as safe.

04-25-2007, 12:57 AM
Colleen, I was gonna mention the MRE's my son has. The expiration of those things are about 10 yrs. from now.

04-25-2007, 09:56 AM
Lilybelle -and y'all (or as we say in Illinois where I was raised "yous" or "yous guys" (pronounces yuhs not yooze). Funny story -

In the early 90's, I was on Nutrisystem, and working in a juvenile detention center. We were supposed to eat with the kids and only eat whatever the kids had access to (basically whatever the jail made, left overs from the day before on a first come first serve basis, or breakfast cereal). The director made a big fuss about my meals, which I would make when I had a chance to take a break in the control room (away from the kids, but enclosed in glass, so they could "see" what I was eating). I was getting the same flack as employees who tried to "smuggle in" McDonald's.

Two of my fellow staff members were Military (one in the National Guard, one in Army reserves), and they brought in MRE's to show the kids - about the only thing the kids would try were the saltines). My Nutrisystem meals were almost identical to the stuff they brought in. The kids found it funnier than I did, and the director gave me a little less flack about them, since it was obvious that the kids weren't envying what I was eating (I actually thought some of the MRE's looked better than some of Nutrisystem's offerings).

04-25-2007, 12:14 PM
Kaplods, LOL, my son and his friend have opened some of those MRE's here and they actually looked pretty darn good. I was astounded to see that each contains over 2000 calories. My son's father (who is a physician) orders MRE's by the case and when they take Boy's Trip each summer, that is all they eat. LOL, they don't know how to cook.

05-02-2007, 08:51 PM
I really, really love the Turkey Chili with Beans JC meal. Any other Jenny Craigers tried that?

I'm glad I got these. I got about a month's supply, which'll save me the $80 or thereabouts I spend a month on Lean Cuisine/Healthy Choice/SmartOnes frozen meals.

05-19-2007, 10:10 PM
I was just reading your post. I am not on Jenny Craig or anything but I read all the posts on the boards, to learn and to see what others are doing.

Anyway, one thing that came to my mind about the outdated JC meals was it's kind of scary if you think about it....what kind of preservatives do they use that make them last so long???????? :D And, is it really good for your body to eat that much of it??

I am mostly doing whole foods, fresh foods, fruits, veggies, soy burgers, etc. Very little processed stuff at all. I am enjoying it. Working on portion control, which is a biggie. But, at least if I eat too many baby carrots or watermelon, etc. it won't really hurt me as much as say, a bag of cookies! LOL

Good luck with your meals.


05-19-2007, 10:21 PM
That's cool that you will be saving money from the meals :)

I think I would call the customer service line because they can track the lot the meals came from and advise you about safety. I just wouldn't mention that they were free ;)

I always wondered if those types of plans could accommodate people with food allergies or special diets (low sodium, vegan, vegetarian, celiac/gluten intolerant etc.). Anyone know?

Anyway, one thing that came to my mind about the outdated JC meals was it's kind of scary if you think about it....what kind of preservatives do they use that make them last so long???????? :D And, is it really good for your body to eat that much of it?? Don't get me started on packaged foods! :o Aside from the chemicals and preservatives in the food iteself, there is the issue of the plastic and the chemicals from that leaching into the foods...

05-19-2007, 10:42 PM
Anyway, one thing that came to my mind about the outdated JC meals was it's kind of scary if you think about it....what kind of preservatives do they use that make them last so long???????? :D And, is it really good for your body to eat that much of it??

If they are self stable and not in a can then they were most likely irradiated. Personally I stay far away from anything that has been hit with radiation (if I can help it~they don't have to put that bit of info on the packaging), but then I don't microwave anything either. Call me crazy... I'm just a bit paranoid about stuff like that.

05-19-2007, 10:54 PM
The technology behind these meals is over 200 years old, and really requires no preservatives at all except the canning process.

Here's a link that gives a little history

Very old canned foods have been found in historical digs, shipwrecks, old basements.... And if the seal is intact, even if the food was canned over 100 years ago, when it was tested, it has generally been found to be still technically edible (that is safe to eat, not necessarily tasty. ) The biggest health risk was if the cans contained or were sealed with lead solder.

I don't know how old the oldest canned food actually tasted was (or how it tasted), but the testing done as I understand it is lab tests checking for microbes and toxins.

05-19-2007, 11:05 PM
Since 1986, all irradiated products must carry the international symbol called a radura, which resembles a stylized flower.

Also, I believe the type of irradiation needed to actually make a product shelf-stable is still extremely rare. The last I heard, it was only used in some hospital applications such as in foods prepared for severely immune compromised patients.