Best Before?

I have just finished preserving the last of my garden food, it is all canned, jarred, or dried.  Most of it will keep for a year or so, the stuff in jars will probably last even longer. Every now and then though one might go bad.  I don’t however have to put ‘best-before’, or ‘use-by’ dates on anything that I have preserved.  So when reading this article about  ‘sell by dates’ being removed from food packaging in UK it did make me chuckle!  Why is it that we as humans in the western world need informing when food is off and shouldn’t be eaten.  I can tell straight away, the stuff stinks, or tastes like old sick.


‘Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman: “People are confused about food labelling” – who exactly is confused?  What is there to be confused about?  If it stinks and is not blue cheese chuck it.  If it tastes of sick throw it away.  No date is required.  If shops sell you some crappy food take it back or even better don’t shop there again.

A loaf of bread in my local shop is 38p for fresh bread after 24 hours you can get it for half price.  After another 24 hours it is sold as ‘dog bread’ for pennies.  Not a single label in sight.  Amazing.  Bulgarians are obviously much more intelligent than British bods who would all poison themselves if not told exactly when food goes bad, or confused even when told.  I know most people aren’t idiots, so why do we accept being treated like them.

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  1. Old Holborn says:

    Glad you covered this, so I don’t have to.

    All part of the great scheme to assume repsonsibility on our behalf, and de facto ownership of us. Part of the fun is walking up to a Tesco drone, thrust a package of something in his face and demand a 90% reduction. Then shove it in the cupboard until I want to use it. Sorted.

    A slightly more cynical person than I would simply say that Caroline Spelman has realised she is at the very very bottom on the ministerial food chain and set her PR people on the “get me in the papers” bandwagon. Such is politics….

    (Looking at Caroline Spelman, you can see why she wants to get rid of “best before” and “use by” labels.)

  2. Neil says:

    Sell by dates and other such nonsense were introduced in response to some cases of shops selling food that was past its best. No doubt some people said ‘The government should do something about that!’. The problem is that when anyone says that about anything, the government happily does do something about it – they introduce new rules and regulations, which makes them feel great because it looks as though they are being useful, and in the process they take away a little bit more of our freedom and a little bit more of our responsibility. Over time, they turn us more and more into children, ever more dependent on the all-knowing state. Look right, look left, look right again. Coughs and sneezes spread diseases. Now wash your hands. Eat your 5 a day. All wise words (except perhaps for the 5 a day) but it should be the family that teaches these things, as it is the family that should teach young people how to distinguish between food that is good to eat and food that. This is the basic knowledge that our earliest ancestors passed on to their young – it was a matter of life and death then.

    Now the government is responding to all the environmentalists and self-appointed ‘spokespersons’ for the poor who wring their hands and grind their teeth over the awful, terrible, obscene waste of food in this country. I would like to know what percentage of food is wasted (rather than its stated monetary value). I suspect it is very small. Every system that works must have a certain amount of waste or slack in it. If it didn’t, the slightest upset to the system would lead to shortages, which would cause a great deal more hand-wringing and teeth-grinding than goes on now, but among the hungry customers rather than the worthy moaners.

    My advice to everyone who complains about anything is never, ever ask the government to ‘do something about it’. You will regret it.