October 13, 2005 in Features

Discard after 6 months in freezer

Peter Gott United Media

Dear Dr. Gott: I really look forward to reading your column in our daily paper. I consider it to be a no-nonsense, intelligent approach to our everyday health problems. I might add that my own doctor reads your column and says he finds your answers right on the mark.

Now for my question. I haven’t seen anything like this addressed in your column, so I hope you’ll be able to give me an answer. I have an older relative who saves food for a very long time in her refrigerator. For instance, she saves meatloaf or cream soups or just about any food for five or six days or more and then eats it. She maintains that as long as something is kept cold, it is safe to eat. She recently gave me a cheese ball, which must have come out of her deep freeze, and it had an expiration date of June 17, 2002. That would have made it 3 years old when she gave it to me. It really worries me; I’m afraid she is going to poison herself. So, is food safe to eat if it has been frozen, even for two years? Or if it has been kept cold in the refrigerator for a week?

Dear Reader: Although the shelf life of most foods reflect the date of sale, some can guide consumers on when to use a product. This is appropriate. As a general rule, foods that have been frozen for more than six months probably should not be consumed. However, you don’t necessarily have to review your relative’s food. She is OK and in good health, right? So let’s leave well enough alone.

Dear Dr. Gott: I have recently read several accounts of a study that found a connection between daily doses of cinnamon and lower cholesterol. One recommendation was to take 1/2 teaspoon each day. Since starting this, my total cholesterol has dropped from 204 to 165, and my LDL has improved as well. What are your thoughts and concerns about this therapy?

Dear Reader: There are many medical reports linking certain herbs and omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil with lowering blood cholesterol levels. However, the cinnamon connection is a new one on me, so I cannot endorse or reject it. Have any readers had experience with this spice?

To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “Understanding Cholesterol.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email