Waste less food - ask a stranger if they'd eat it

Bitterwallet - food alertWe're not suggesting that 'best before' and 'use by' labelling on food is less a safety initiative, more a cynical attempt to increase consumption. However, it's fair to say it's hardly the most accurate science practised by retailers and producers. How quickly fresh food deteriorates depends on a number of variables, yet we're told to follow the guidelines - especially 'use by' dates - to the letter.

Plenty of us trust our noses and guts over the labelling - if it's not rancid, slimy or stinking like a French youth hostel then there's a good chance it's still good to throw in a bolognaise. This rather imprecise art has been turned into a forum called Food Safety For the Cheap and Adventurous. You tell the other forum members what you have lurking in your fridge, and they'll tell you whether you should scoff it or not. Unsurprisingly, it's hardly consistent in its advice:

Hi everyone, I left milk out in a warm room overnight for about 8 hours. Is it still safe for me to drink?

- You could put it back in the fridge to get cold and it'll be okay for a couple days but it's going to spoil a whole lot faster.

- I would toss it. If it is not cold to touch, it is not edible.

- It should still be safe, although it might taste off. You could still use it for cooking, though.

- Milk comes outta the cow warm, not cold. Warm milk, 8 hour warm milk, is fine. Drink it all ya want.

That's that sorted, then. So even less scientific, and based on subjective opinion and fishwive's tales. Better to pay close attention to those 'use by' labels, or even (whisper it) decide for yourself. Unless it's Butterkist popcorn that contains rice weevils, that is.

via [The Consumerist]


  • ScottC
    Its a common misconception that milk even needs to be stored in the fridge!
  • Nobby
    Gone off milk is not harmful anyway. At worse you will chunder.
  • wonky h.
    I'm not having a cup of tea around ScottC's house.
  • Graham S.
    I don't ever go by sell by dates anyway. If it looks good and smells good then it probably is. If it's getting furry, green or slimy or if it has an unusual or for that matter disgusting smell then it's probably best to be chucked! Things have very distinct smells when they start going off so it's easy to work out whether it's good or not! Important thing to remember is that the term is "best before". Best before doesn't mean at 1 second past midnight the next day, that piece of bread is gonna grow legs and teeth and viciously attack you! It means that it would have been better but is most likely still edible. Gotta love tinned or dry food even better!! Best before when. I remember having weeks of eating Angel Delight and Pasta that was nearly 10 years out of date when I was back home!
  • wonky h.
    Just think 10 year old Angel Delight made with UHT milk..........mmmmmmmmm yummy
  • JGN
    The army says canned food can be had up to 50 years after the date on the tin as long as it kept cool and dry.
  • Nobby
    > How quickly fresh food deteriorates depends on a number of variables, yet we’re told to follow the guidelines – especially ‘use by’ dates – to the letter. It does depend on a number of variables, but that just makes things complicated. Eg. If kept in a fridge below 5 deg C, use by 28 March. If kept out of fridge, use by 20 March. If you have cooked it, use by 17 March. If you have rubbed it on yourself above the waist, use by 16 March. If you have rubbed it around the groin area, use by 15 March. If you have inserted it, probably best to throw it away.
  • Paddy
    JGN, I'm in the forces. We don't use canned food and haven't for sometime now. Our Operational Ration Packs have a shelf life of about 3-4 years. With the current tempo of operations, it's unlikely that ORP's will stay on the shelf for that amount of time. You eat food that is several years out of date and what you will end up with is a unit that is not combat effective.
  • andyofyarm
    So Paul,do you often "Ask a stranger if they'd eat it?"
  • Nobby
    And if they say no, do you ask them just to taste it first as they may like it?
  • zeddy
    [Plenty of us trust our noses and guts over the labelling – if it’s not rancid, slimy or stinking like a French youth hostel then there’s a good chance it’s still good to throw in a bolognaise.] Go for it! Just remember that pathogenic bacteria, i.e. the food poisoning/foodborne disease type are extremely unlikely to either smelt, tasted or seen. Spoilage organisms, well that's a different matter.
  • ar03
    if milk is left outside the fried for hours and u think its spoilt, best thing to do is make cheese out of it. (like indian soft cheese- panner). boil the milk, add some lemon juice to braek the milk. it will curdle and milk solid starts seperating from water. Now just take the hard white cheese and drain the water out completely. keep in fride for a while to set- Now u can either crumble it to use in salads or put it mould nad then cut into cubes!!! see it doesnt have to be thrown away. and by the way that is the way to make panner- even from fresh milk, so making use of spoilt milk is just like recycling!!!
  • cookie
    No Deals of the Day? Tut tut.
  • JGN
    paddy, i never said the armed forces do still use canned food, i said that they say canned food can be consumed up to 50 years after the date on the tin. also in the forces here and would say you are not very effective anyway based on your poor observation of what i actually said, despite it being in front of your eyes to read over as many times as you like. *sigh* no wonder people label the forces as the only way a school drop out can earn £16k a year. lol. back to basic training for you laddy.
  • dunfyboy
    If your bread's gone off before you've finished the loaf, try Warburtons Seeded Batch. It's still fresh 3 or 4 days after the best before date. Anyway, a little bacteria won't kill you, but as kids don't eat dirt anymore, the next generation will die just by looking at something that's past it's sell by date.
  • Nobby
    Kids do eat dirt these days. Only yesterday I held one face-down in a muddy puddle.
  • dunfyboy
    Good on you Nobby. It'll do him good in the long run.
  • zeddy
    @dunfyboy: Anyway, a little bacteria won’t kill you The infectious dose of E. coli O157 appears to be very low, probably fewer than 100 organisms. http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Escherichia-Coli-O157.htm How many of these organisms would fit on the tip of your finger?
  • -]
    I'm no fan of the forces, but what paddy says is perfectly valid. JGN just seems like a sour little tit, because he's been shown to be wrong. Never mind JGN, even that "dropout" just showed you the door. Have the courtesy to use it, eh?
  • Paddy
    JGN, School dropout? I've got an Honours graduate with a useful degree so you're wrong on that one. 16k a year? After training, the lads and lasses are on 17k a year as of 01 Apr this year and most people will be on at least 25k a year within 3/4 years which is the UK average wage I believe. I've got plenty of graduate friends in civvy street who are earning less than that. As for myself? I'm not crass enough to boast about how much I earn as that's distasteful but as you claim that I am a school dropout I will state that I'm in the higher tax band as the Forces deem it necessary to pay me a higher wage to retain me in a skillset that is highly demanding and takes several years to become competent in. You strike me as a bitter and twisted JNCO, most probably in the RAF, who is unable to accept when you're talking out of your hole. If you are in the forces, I'd strongly suggest you pop along to your nearest education centre to speak to them about starting a basic skills course as your grammar and sentence structure is appalling. 50 year old canned food is not safe. You cannot tell how much bacteria is in the food and you do not know how the metal in the tin will react chemically after such a long period of time. Therefore, the food is not safe and as such, no-one in their right mind, in the J/N/G/A4 world would issue this food to troops. Apologies to other users of Bitterwallet for my mini-rant. Scrotes like JGN boil my piss.
  • Zeddy
    @Paddy; To be fair, your piss will be sage to drink then! ;-)
  • Zeddy

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