News that Britain is suffering a food poisoning epidemic because of our lax attitude towards sell-by dates has sparked something of a debate here in the office.
The Food Standards Agency revealed that 1.7 million cases of food poisoning occur each year in the UK, as 40% of people admit to eating food that’s gone past its sell-by date.
It also revealed another two thirds of people mistakenly believe that smelling and checking the colour of food is a safe enough method to see whether it has gone off.
Ignoring the sell-by dates on food, particularly meat and diary products, can be a gamble. It doesn’t help when the supermarkets confuse the matter by including best before dates, which mean the food will be past its peak but still edible.
Of course, it never hurts to be cautious with these things, but can we really blame all food poisoning cases on ignored sell-by dates?
People have been home cooking for centuries with fresh produce that doesn’t come with a specified sell-by date and we’ve managed to survive. So surely it’s a matter for our own judgment?
Is it worth wasting perfectly good food just to be overcautious? What kind of message does this send to the next generation of cooks if we can’t trust our own initiative when it comes to food?
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