A friend of mine just recently started avoiding any ultra-processed food because of health concerns. However he already had some in his storage room and some have passed their expiration date.This made me wonder if we can still treat it as normal food?

I understand the food contains lots of hard-to-spell additives, colourant, preservatives, and other chemicals beside the actual food itself, and we do not know if it can harm the environment or not. This made me think how supermarkets dispose all of those food then? I couldn't find an answer elsewhere so any input is really appreciated!

Added details (11/6/2020): Let's say mango syrup, most of the time you'll find in ingredients of actual Mango extracts of just <1%, while others were "mango flavoring", yellow colourant, along with additional preservatives & enhancer that if we google them a bit, shown some were petroleum-based (though have passed strict regulations to be used in food)

  • Welcome to Sustainable Living! Generally speaking all foods fit for human consumption can be composted. It may take longer to break down because of preservatives (or fats), but eventually it should become compost. Personally I would not use the resulting compost in my vegetable garden, just to be safe, but I am rather picky about I add there.
    – THelper
    Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 8:13
  • 1
    Just because it's over the expiration date, doesn't mean, it's spoiled. Maybe give it to someone who needs it and will use it soon.
    – Erik
    Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 8:22
  • I feed leftovers , etc. to deer in the forest behind the house . Racoons eat things like meat that the deer don't eat. Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 23:48
  • @Erik i don't see any reason why giving others what we want to get rid of because of health concern (danger) Commented Nov 6, 2020 at 9:37
  • @THelper I actually meant about it - organics, since the additives used were petroleum based Commented Nov 6, 2020 at 9:37

1 Answer 1


If you can eat it and not die, it's probably reasonable to compost it.

Tons of those additives are used yearly, small quantities in the compost system would not be significant.

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