Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Use-By Dates


MY friends have been reading my blog about shopping and the conversation turned to "use-by" dates on food.
We have very different attitudes to that little date-stamp. One of us religiously throws out anything that has passed its shelf life while another uses it as a guide.
Personally I look on those dates as a challenge. A packet of custard powder that orders me to use it by Jan 7, 1982? Pah! I'll make that raspberry trifle when I want to and I may not want to until Jan 7, 2010.
I refuse to believe that a tin of beans that is perfectly safe to eat at 11.59pm, suddenly becomes poisonous a minute later. If it were true, Dr Crippen wouldn't have bothered with the hyoscine hydrobromide to poison his wife, he would have opened a dodgy packet of prawns and made her a sandwich. (In the interests of historical accuracy, Crippen TRIED to poison his wife but gave her too much hyoscine hydrobromide - she went screamingly mad and he shot her. Oh well...)
If you look in the back of my cupboards you'll probably find tins of Carnation milk that my grandmother squirreled away in the war - the First World War. Look, if bottles of wine from the Napoleonic era can make hundreds of thousands of pounds, my tins of Carnation must be worth a few quid, surely?
I take no notice of sell-by or use-by dates, I'm more of a sniff-by kind of a girl. It it doesn't smell whiffy, it's edible.
I haven't poisoned anybody yet. At least, I don't think I have. Which reminds me, I wonder what happened to my old schoolfriend who popped round for a sandwich in 2003? She hasn't been back since.

13 comments:

Genna said...

Use-by dates are a device to get us to throw away perfectly good food, it's obscene. Gen.

Conor said...

yr blog is hilarious!!

Lardy Big Bot said...

My father is so anti sell by dates that he'll take a chance on a two week old pork pie. He is strapping and healthy (apart from the angina and train rail varicose veins).They still own a tin of pease pudding that was bought when I was about 7, I am now 36 (21) and my siblings and I plan to open it when both my parents snuff it. It is like the topper most food challenge..Mum keeps trying to throw it away but we keep a check on it when we visit.

Jungle VIP said...

Yea.....I like this a lot. I saw you through "guineapigs" and thought I'd have a look. Well done. Great blog. If you ask Phoenix, she'll tell you Princess Kitty isn't so good cooking and Kitchens and the Bear is a culinary genius ?
JVIP

Phoenix said...

Great blog!

Just imagine if people have sell buy dates! I have seen a few past their's.

Phoenix
x

Beki said...

When I helped my grandmother move a few years back I found a tin of Carnation condensed milk at the back of her cupboard - couldn't find a best before dat on it but the pirce label was still on it...11 1/2p!! How long is it since we had halfpennies??!!

Nice to have the tin as a weapon though ;o)

samscomps said...

Sometimes use by dates can be an invitation to a challenge - I'll show you, you food manufacturer you that I can't eat this piece of meat that's been in my freezer since 2002 - sometimes though they may indicate some level of a health warning. I suddenly had the urge to make something with puff pastry which expired 2 years ago, I opened it and left it to defrost but just touching the pastry caused a reaction in my fingers. So I figured, hey if it can do that to my fingers what will it do to my stomach. Overall though, I say its a case by case issue.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

I have come straight round for a visit amkt and I'm already giggling! I'm also in awe of your ability to fly in the face of government labelling...well done you, I will try to be daring too next time.
Pigx

The Grocer said...

Running a small independant retail establishment we have to abide by the dates, however most of what we eat has reached it's supposed Use By by the time I get it home. Still standing after four years of this.

paddy said...

Good article. I agree massively - "best-before" is NOT the same as "poison-after". And people are mad.

In fact (shameless plug) I wrote a similar entry a while ago looking at this phenomenon in Sweden, where the people are even more crazy. Click my name above to go directly there!

paddy said...

And you're damned right! Use-by dates are statistically based, and the state of the food depends a great deal more on how it was handled and stored. My ex once threw out salt - salt! - because it has "gone off". We are no longer together...

In Sweden, where I live, this is an epidemic. In fact (attempt at self-promotion) I did a rather hilarious blog piece on just this topic. Just click on my name above to be magically transported there.

paddy said...

Holy crap...this is unbelievable. I had already commented this blog, and with basically the same information. I did not see until I published this comment. I am so embarrassed. Please forgive and ignore me.

This is a sign of reading far too many blogs...

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