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I've read that dry pack food storage products expire within x amount of years depending on the product. My parents purchased a LARGE quantity (over 100 cases of #10 cans) of assorted dry pack 28 years ago from Desert Supply Company; wheat, cornmeal, powdered milk, eggs, instant potatoes etc. I'm having a hard time coming to terms with throwing it all out. Can you please confirm that this is wasted product or is there anything salvagable.. and if so for how much longer would it be good? It has been stored in a dry/dark cool basement.

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A

Tree bark is edible and also free, but we don't agonize over not eating it or the money savings over groceries (smile).  While it is tempting to save 30 year old food storage, it most likely is not very good.  If you have no other emergency food storage, that food will supply calories, proteins, and carbohydrates to keep you alive in an emergency.  But, it will not taste very good.  And, after 5 years most to all of the vitamins have degraded.  BYU did experiment with 25 year old wheat.  They found it was okay to use provided it was stored in a very cool place.  Basement stored wheat was good, while 5 year old attic stored wheat had deteriorated.  So, you might be able to save the wheat and my opinion (no research) is that maybe the cornmeal would be okay.  The powdered milk, eggs, and potatoes are most likely deteriorated to the point that mixing them in with fresh would not even be feasible.

My recommendation is that you could save the wheat and cornmeal provided you need to.  Replace them immediately as your budget allows.  Our current recommendation is to store all foods no longer than 5 years.  Store foods your family eats.  Rotate them (first-in-first-out) into meals if you can.  Or, if you do not ordinarily eat the foods you store, replace them after five years and discard the old ones.

Posted on 28 Sep 2007

Brian Nummer
Food Safety Specialist

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