Whether you stockpile food in your pantry, basement, root cellar or your bug-out bag, the biggest problem is that some or most of it will go bad at some point. Plus, the bigger the stockpile, the harder it is to manage, and this only increases the chances of you having to throw food away.
Let’s assume you’re rotating your food at least twice a year. The only thing left to do is to look for signs of spoilage.
Spoilage is caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, mold (microscopic fungi) and yeast, if and when they have the right conditions to thrive and multiply. The list of issues is not that big: oxygen, light, humidity and temperature can cause a variety of bacteria and fungi to develop.
Always ask three questions when checking whether food is good to eat:
What Does it Smell Like?
Smelling is a good way to determine whether meat and dairy are spoiled. If it smells rancid or sour, you might as well throw it away.
The smell test, though, only works for some foods (such as milk, meats and cooking oils). Just keep in mind that not all bacteria smell bad. Which leads us to our next test …
What Does it Look Like?
If it smells OK, then examine it carefully. Look for discoloration or mold forming anywhere on the surface.
Yeast and molds are more likely to form on fruits, veggies and other acidic foots that have been stored improperly or for long periods of time.
Bread, cheese, fruit and vegetables all can be affected by mold, which could look like grey fur, white dots or a white dust. Keep in mind that the mold also gets inside the food, not just on the surface. Although the right thing to do would be to throw the entire piece of fruit or veggie away, many people have reported that throwing away only the infected part worked well for them. Still, I recommend the first option.