KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
24th March 2017
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A number of people have picked up on the move to scrap use-by dates on some products and I for one couldn't be more delighted!
I muddle along pretty well most of the year, using common sense, my eyes and my nose to judge whether the food I grab from my fridge, cupboards or fruit bowl can be safely used ('grab' says it all, doesn't it?). Although often what I eat has passed its use-by date, I don't get stomach upsets and nor do I tend to pick up the bugs suffered by others, which leads me to believe that I'm pretty healthy.
When my daughters are home from university it's a different matter, and my neighbours must think I'm a dreadful mother when they hear me loudly berated for having a fridge full of "mouldy food" and told that there's nothing to eat in the house! In my defence this is not true, but you know what teenagers are like!
Often products have been in the freezer before going into the refrigerator, while bread that's kept in the fridge rather than a bread bin stays fresher for much longer, especially in this warm weather. Yoghurts, I'm told, can be eaten up to six weeks after the manufacturer says they should be binned. And I learned as a teenager that eggs had often been stored for four to six months before hitting the supermarket shelves so why on earth do they need to be date stamped now? Most foods have their own indicators that they're beyond safe consumption so why should someone who can't see or smell the products they're advising us to throw away, make that decision for us?
And of course, as fridges and freezers become more efficient, (see the Gorenje story below for some examples) those who are lucky enough to own them will find that their foodstuffs will enjoy an even longer shelf life.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says that some 364,000 tons of edible food is misguidedly binned by Britons each year because it has passed its 'best before' date. I contribute to that waste (during the holidays!) and am looking forward to spending a little less on food once common sense is once again allowed to come into play.
30th July 2010