Friday, February 27, 2009

Best When Used By...

"It would be nice if the Food and Drug Administration stopped issuing warnings about toxic substances and just gave me the names of one or two things still safe."

-Robert Fuss

If you are like me, you are a label reader! I like to cook, so I like to know what it is I am putting in my food, and what my food consists of. As a diabetic, I have learned to be especially diligent with things. Calories, fat grams, cholesterol... it all counts, but the most important thing of all is the art of dealing with food safely. I didn't learn that from being diabetic, I learned that when a former boyfriend's mother poisoned me, and a few others, with a deliberately mismanaged turkey. If you have known me for any length of time, you have probably heard about my adventure that June 6th, all those years ago! I remember it like it was yesterday, it was probably the sickest I have ever been, and in truth, I don't think I have felt the same since. It was violent, and painful, and it left an impression, both about the guy I was dating, and about food.

Turkey had my respect from that moment on! What I mean by that is that it all became very clear about how things should be done just a certain way. It was about 10 years, or so, after the food poisoning before I ate turkey again, and another 7 years before I dared cook one myself. Turkey and I have made our peace with each other, in fact we are good friends now, mostly because I am so diligent with things. I am pleased to report that as a wife, I have never poisoned Alan or any of our dinner guests, either accidentally or on purpose. LOL. I am a good cook. It's something I take pride in, and do with love. To me, making a good, healthy meal is pretty much the easiest way to say,"I love you."

So I bet your saying to yourself, "what in the world is she on about here?" Ok, getting to the point, I want to ask you if you have been noticing what I have lately? Have you been noticing products left well past the "Use By" date on store shelves? I ask because, I have! And it hasn't been at just one store, it has been at several stores. I bought a Boboli whole wheat pizza crust at Safeway a couple week's ago, and didn't look at the "sell by" until I got home, only to find it was 3 weeks past the date! I dropped the ball! When I realized that, I went through everything I purchased that day to see if I had missed anything else. I hadn't, thank goodness, but it was disheartening all the same.

After that incident I became hyper aware of things, and began checking a little closer. I found some Egg Beaters at a different store in the East Bay that had a "Use By" date of December 31st 2008! The day I spotted that was February 25th 2009! YUCK! I have to wonder if this is yet another symptom of the economy? Are stores willing to push things, and hope we don't notice? I can't believe they are all in some sort of conspiracy to poison us, and yet, how come I am seeing expired food on shelves more and more?

I know that sometimes a manufacturer puts a date that merely refers to the quality of the taste, but sometimes I actually means quality as in the safety of the food. I try to use things well within the recommended dates, but I also know there is a little leeway in some cases. If you follow the USDA posted guidelines everything should be fine, on the other hand, I'd rather toss something questionable then end up...yuck...tossing it! All I know is I thank GOD for the Butterball hotline, but even with it, I don't make turkey in June!

Tell me what you think. Do you always check the date on items before you buy them at the grocery store? Have you ever bought something, and brought it home and then discovered it had expired? Have you been noticing expired products still on store shelves?


USDA Food Product Dating Guide

Butterball - Food Safety



~ Lor said...

3 weeks old!?! You'd think they'd be more careful about that stuff to at the very least avoid a lawsuit or something like the fiasco we just had with peanuts. I'm a date checker well as a seal checker. There's nothing more annoying than getting your purchase home only to find the seal isn't on correctly or it's out of date. Esp. if you're hungry! ;)

Mike said...

I'm a bug date checker. I'm totally paranoid about food. We have a problem with that at our local grocery store which is owned by Safeway. I don't think it's on purpose, more of a slacker attitude, in my opinion.