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"Absolutely Don't Eat After" Date

Not in it's prime, but still edible.
  (+18, -6)(+18, -6)
(+18, -6)
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We've all seen the "Best By" date on foods at the supermarket.

Once they reach that date, the food is no longer in it's best shape. It may turn a funny color, or smell a bit odd, or taste strange. Some foods are worse than others (ie: milk compared to ramen soup), but most foods, the effect is not to horrible.

Once the food is past the Best By date, most people throw it out or something. BUT! <italics>it is still edible!</italics>

A long study of the decomposition of different foods would produce results that would allow us to find a "Worst By" date, on which, before the date passes, the food, although not it's best, is still perfectly edible, though it may taste a little strange. Once the "Worst By" date passes, the food is then officially "unedible", although sometimes a food will still be able to be eaten.

Many foods, such as milk, would have a Worst By date close to the Best By date.

Others, such as crackers, would have a great "Worst By" date. Past the "Best By" date,the usually go stale. But they are still absolutely edible, and can still be eaten.

Printing the "Worst By" date underneath the "Best By" date would show a good estimate of how much time you have between the "Best By" date and the time that it actually goes bad.

If anything starts growing mold, chuck it.

DesertFox, Apr 05 2005

'Use by' vs 'Best before' http://www.eatwell....labelterms/#A220019
[Loris, Apr 05 2005]

[link]






       I can sort of see the point in this.. a

Best Before and
Don't even think about consuming after

date might make some sense for some products. I think it's the lawyers covering the food company's arses, but for sensible cnsumers it might be useful to have a better idea of whether it's past its best or whether it will harm.

P.S. I think 'worst by' is a bad name, as the vast majority of products get worse and worse over time.
neilp, Apr 05 2005
  

       This wouldn't work for the reason that [neilp] explained. What might work would be a date of manufacture, so you knew how long it was supposed to last and hence whether the extra couple of days were highly significant (milk) or irrelevant (toffee).
david_scothern, Apr 05 2005
  

       Baked, as the 'Use by' date.
(In the UK at least.)
  

       I once saw an interesting and informative advert from the foods standards agency, which said : "'Use by' means use by, 'best before' is advice."
Loris, Apr 05 2005
  

       Baked, in the UK? Never seen "Use By". Sometimes, I drink the milk past the "Best By" date, if it's not to funny. I think that that's pretty much the same thing "Best By", since, as the link says, those foods go bad quickly, and the difference is not noticable. In the US, a "Best By" date is generally accurate to when it's time to throw the milk out. Not always, though. Cheese can keep longer than you think. Just don't let mold start growing. Wash it or something.
DesertFox, Apr 05 2005
  

       'Mummy, why are we buying stuff that is past it's best by date?'
'Honey, just because it's slightly past it's best by date doesn't mean that it's not okay to eat'
'But mummy, this one has blue fur growing on it...'
froglet, Apr 05 2005
  

       Hmmm. Is it really called 'best by' where you are, DesertFox?
Doesn't that suggest that the item would mature, or improve up to the indicated date?
Loris, Apr 05 2005
  

       No, it's "best before"; this idea's name is still wrong, it should be "absolutely don't eat _after_"
david_scothern, Apr 05 2005
  

       There should be little pictures on the box, of what the product looks like when fresh vs. edible vs. rotten.   

       After all, food life depends on how you store it, so it's very hard to put a date on staleness.
phundug, Apr 05 2005
  

       //In the US, a "Best By" date is generally accurate to when it's time to throw the milk out.//   

       Here (in the US), “sell by” dates are used for milk, with the expectation that the milk will be consumed within a week of purchase.
Shz, Apr 05 2005
  

       Title changed, dc.
DesertFox, Apr 05 2005
  

       Just out of interest, does anyone know if products which are supposed to get better with time (thinking of wine but could be others) have a best before date?
hidden truths, Apr 05 2005
  

       I don't know about "Absolutely Don't Eat After" Date, but I know that you absolutely shouldn't eat anything with garlic or onions before a date.
contracts, Apr 05 2005
  

       "Mummy, this egg is bad."   

       "No it's not darling. It's just old. Just not past its 'Absolutely Don't Eat After' date. Eat it up, darling."   

       "Mummy?"   

       "Yes, darling."   

       "Do I have to eat the beak?"
phlogiston, Apr 05 2005
  

       If I were to be cynical I would say that the 'Best before' date was a ploy to get people to throw out food from their fridge and buy some more 'just in case'.
I also think that much of the processed food in supermarkets in many areas of the 'developed' world is geared to tie in with this e.g. bright red steaks and shiny red tomato(e)s.
The fact remains that there are countries in Europe (e.g. France) where you can go to a local market and buy local produce that does not /look/ perfect but tastes a damned sight better than a lot of supermarket stuff (and that includes the earwigs in the middle of the peach!).
Having said all that, the UK 'use before' date is quite a good idea. Add a couple of days for a steak if you want it nice and tender but not bright red!
gnomethang, Apr 05 2005
  

       [+] Absolutely great. This is one of those ideas that will seem so obvious after it's implemented.   

       As for legal stuff, you did CYA with the first, earlier date. After that, it's up to the user's risk, but at least you're giving them guidance.   

       It'd be even better to have a little table: Unopened/Opened: Freshest by: 5/5/05, 4/4/05 At your own risk, by: 7/7/05 , 5/5/05
sophocles, Apr 07 2005
  

       It seems to make sense to me. Many companies don't put a use by date on their products for the simple reason that people will see "best before," and throw it out and buy more.   

       This would, for one thing, standardize and simplify labelling, which in and of itself is a good idea. [+]
shapu, Apr 07 2005
  

       That slogan should be easily placed. Just substitute a few words in "Absolutely Don't Eat if Seal is Broken".
reensure, Apr 07 2005
  

       //"Absolutely Don't Eat if Seal is Broken"//   

       Poor seals. What about the walruses? Or sea lions?
DesertFox, Apr 07 2005
  

       "If anything starts growing mold, chuck it."   

       Except that cheese, it's already mold when you get it.
bobzaguy, Sep 06 2009
  

       In Germany, edibles that simply go stale have a Mindesthaltbarkeitsdatum (translates roughly to 'will hold up to at least this date'), and edibles that will become toxic if held to long (meat, eggs, some milk products..) have a Verbrauchsdatum (tr: 'use before').
loonquawl, Sep 08 2009
  

       I had a discussion with my son, who refuses to eat anything past its "Best Before" date, to the effect that "best before" is not the same as "worst after", which I believe to be the natural term for this value.
james_what, Sep 08 2009
  
      
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