Thursday, 7 April 2011

Sell By, Eat By?

I’ve never been one to really worry about these things. I go first by the look of the goods, and then by the smell. This has a lot to do with the fact that my contact lenses can’t always read the small print, that is if I have managed at all to FIND the information. (How many times have you turned over a litre bag of milk?) On Woolworth’s food products, I have enough trouble even finding the selling price. Like most people, I also have a cupboard full of old medicines which I am loathe to throw out reasoning that most of the pills are surely OK, still in their blister packs, and the bottles look alright if I shake them. There is also my conscience which tells me I shouldn’t pour things down the drain, nor should I throw such things in the dustbin. I am also reluctant to load everything up to take to the chemist unless I know there is a sign up which says: “Bring your old medicines in this week”, in case its not that week. 
So it was with interest that when we switched on to our new favourite programme “I Didn’t Know That” they were testing what would happen to fresh food items if they were left on a kitchen counter for a month and not put in the fridge at all.  The items were things like a fresh chicken, coleslaw, jam, cheese, oranges, a packet of designer mixed lettuce leaves and eggs.  The friendly, pack-packer type scientist/presenter, checked all the items every few days. The results were spectacular.  The first to suffer in a couple of days were the coleslaw (fizzy and smelly) and the wrapped chicken – grey-looking and swelling up.  He checked then every week. I’ll spare you all the details: skip to WEEK 4!  The chicken was full of maggots, the coleslaw was absolutely disgusting, the jam had an acceptable layer of mould (which can be safely scraped off), the eggs looked fine but were rotten, the oranges were of course, fine, but the very worst – was the LETTUCE! He held up the packet – a soggy, black messy bog in the bottom corner. The research chemist said that the interesting thing was a surprisingly large number of E-COLI bacteria in the lettuce!  I went straight to my fridge and threw out two suspect packets of same that had been there more than a week! Don’t know if I’ll ever buy them again, especially as those leaves are washed with chlorine, which if eaten, is actually a carcinogen. On the upside, I am still alive and no-one that lives in my house ever has an upset stomach.

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