Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Enforced use-by dates
  [vote for,

Many people are tempted to jeapordise their health, and even their lives, by consuming food which is past its use by date. The reason is that the food still appears, smells and tastes perfectly acceptable, even though it may have turned highly poisonous at midnight. As well as being a headache for the health authorities, this situation also represents a considereble loss of revenue for food manufacturers, as food which should have been properly consigned to the dustbin, and replaced by fresh product, is wantonly eaten by reckless consumers.

Putri-Safe is an answer to these problems. Small capsules of a harmless, but highly offensive smelling substance are mixed in with the food. The capsules are designed to remain intact until the use by date, when they will decay and release their putrid contents into the food, rendering it inedible. Further, the capsules will be designed to 'stop the clock' upon contact with stomach enzymes, to avoid possible problems should the use by date expire while they are within the alimentary tract.

Mickey the Fish, Jul 13 2003

Containers that detect offitude http://www.halfbake...20Food_20Containers
[DrCurry, Oct 04 2004]


       This man doesn't know it but we have secretly replaced his regular toothpaste with putri-safe paste. Let's see his reaction.
sartep, Jul 13 2003

       Couldn't this idea feasably go under food: general or food: flavoring?
sartep, Jul 13 2003

       I'm thinking: That's the dumbest idea.   

       Can you get anymore un-reasonable? That's expensive and would do more harm than good. How many of us have over-dated food in the back of the fridge? And how many of us don't care? And how many of us would hate to open the door and smell the putrid smell, then have to touch it, pick it up, and toss it out??? Not me.
throwflamingrocks, Jul 13 2003

       Would it not also need to stop on cooking? And what happens when I put some fresh products through the blender?
lurch, Jul 14 2003

       If the food still "appears, smells and tastes perfectly acceptable," then it probably is. Things don't really suddenly go off right on their expiry dates. In NY in the summertime, food frequently goes off well before its expiry date (milk and meat especially, although I just had to return some cheese).   

       However, nature has equipped such foods with built-in Putri-Safe mechanisms - foul smell, putrid taste, putrescent coloring. For the rest, the Sell-By date is usually more a reflection of loss of freshness than menacing bacteria.   

       Btw, these capsules of "highly offensive smelling substance" - what happens when you bite into them...?
DrCurry, Jul 14 2003

       I would guess that this huge cloud of green smoke would erupt from the bitten food. Now, that ought to stop you!
throwflamingrocks, Jul 14 2003

       DrCurry: The capsules are very small, but numerous, and thus would not be affected by chewing.
Mickey the Fish, Jul 15 2003

       The chemicals are going to come out somewhere in the digestive process, and most strong smells are mildly to very poisonous.
DrCurry, Jul 15 2003

       Perhaps then the capsules should contain not foul smell (sign of poisonousness), but foul taste (sign of healthiness). Heh heh.   

       Also, DrCurry, I think you are confusing 'use-by' with 'best-before'.   

       Really the capsules should be designed to disintegrate on re-freezing or 12 hours after cooking etc.   

       Hang on... The point of use-bys is to prevent people eating the toxic/infectious but undetectable (to the naked human) bacteria, right?
It should not be too difficult to genetically engineer some harmless bacterium (like a non-pathogenic E. coli) to produce detectable foul odor/taste after a certain amount of growth. Then innoculate the food with that, instead of these magic capsules.
Loris, Jul 15 2003

       I thought the ones on milk were sell-by dates.
oxen crossing, Jul 15 2003


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