Monday, February 22, 2010

(Ignore) Food Expiration Dates

Talk of the Nation today discussed Nadia Arumugam's new piece at Slate, titled "Ignore Expiration Dates."

Apparently these dates are mostly set by the manufacturers with little to no direction from the Feds. She says they're generally set very conservatively to prevent dummies from drinking bad milk that they probably stored poorly in the first place.

She points out that you're perfectly capable of telling that your milk went bad and recommends you trust your senses over statistically calculated risk thresholds.

I guess this means I'm not a rebel for eating expired food all the time...

5 comments:

  1. Why do we want our food so pristine, pure and virginal all the time? I like my milk infested with bacteria ( I call it cheese), decaying cabbage (sauerkraut), fungally contaminated beverages (wine and beer). All these expiration dates do is send perfectly decent food to landfill, engender paranoia about food poisoning and rob people of their hardwired skills in detecting obvious food contamination. Bah, humbug.

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  2. My reaction to reading that piece was, "Does ANYONE actually read expiration dates?" I've no idea if I eat food past the date -- because I never even look at them. It is more work to try and find a date than to just open the milk and sniff.

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  3. Remember the dumpster divers in Davis behind the Co-Op pulling out rotting produce and old bread?

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  4. Yeah, that's one of my best stories!

    http://thescientistgardener.blogspot.com/2009/11/fun-with-dumpster-diving.html

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  5. Well there was the one time I opened up some milk that was past its expiration date and it smelled fine, so I used it to cook dinner. And I was fine...but Joe was vomiting all night. Ooops.

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