Out-of-date bacon...Toss? Or use?
Brewing up a pot of cabbage soup for dinner tonight. Found a 16 oz package of thick cut major label bacon in the meat keeper of the refrigerator. Only problem is the use by date on the package is May, 2012. Package had never been opened. No mold or slime when I handled the bacon. Baked in the oven for about an hour and ten minutes at 310 degrees. No smell (except bacon) as it baked.
Can I take a chance that throwing it in the soup WILL NOT poison my family? Or should I just toss it into the garbage.
BTW...Dinner is about two hours away.
If its not ever been opened and didn't smell bad or was slimy as you noted, I think you're good. Remember that bacon was the result of curing and smoking meat so that it could be stored in the days before refrigeration. Take a taste to make sure since you cooked it to make sure its tastes fine. The baking will have also killed any bacteria.
Let the naysayers start now telling you that you will endanger your family by doing anything other than throwing it out....
It's fine. Cured, smoked, vacuum-packed and unopened, it can last for months. If it's slimy or smells "off," that's when you pitch it.
If it wasn't good, you'd know it. Because of the unadulterated vacuum seal, I'd say you're clear.
If it's unopened it should be fine, but open it and give it the sniff test. I find once bacon is opened and becomes oxidized it goes off quickly - like a month depending on the humidity and your fridge.