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As a former manager of restaurants, I inherently monitor our food inventory carefully.

It’s second nature. Without any real effort, I always know what we have and need. I also organize and rotate the pantry and refrigerator with regularity.

All of this is to say that I was confused and appalled upon finding an item in my refrigerator that had expired a decade ago. I realize that expiration dates are very loose approximations of when a food is no longer ideal, and “Best by” dates are even less absolute. Still, when you find an item in the refrigerator nearly as old as your son, who is entering sixth grade, something has gone terribly wrong with your system.