Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Food Expiration Dates: What Do They Really Mean?

Thesis: Food safety and freshness are more about storage and instinct than predetermined use by dates.

Appeal of paragraph: Logic

While the "when in doubt, throw it out" approach is affective in most instances, there are times when disregard for sell or use by dates can be risky. In a Swedish Medical Center article, Robin Parnes states that "while it’s true that almost any food can become contaminated if handled improperly, foods that are purchased or used after their expiration dates may be more likely to contain spoilage bacteria or other pathogens that can cause a foodborne illness". Here the idea of expiration dates giving users a frame of reference for quality is reiterrated. While still agreeing that most foods can still be consumed after the date stamp, Parnes warns that even food that has been stored properly can be comprimised with age. To help avoid food poisoning, Parnes gives food storage tips for optimum freshness and lists some tell tale signs of foodborne illnesses. Many symptoms of food poisoning are very similar to those of influenza: fever, headache, vomiting, chills, irregular breathing, and nausea (Parnes). It is particularly important that expiration dates be more closely adhered to by pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and those with compromised immune systems (Parnes). Of course, for this portion of the population, items that seem "off" should be tossed even if not past their time stamp as a cautionary measure. Food Expiration Dates: What Do They Really Mean?

1 comment:

  1. i dont think food stores check them on a regualr basis. My boyfriend and I got chicken to BBQ a few weeks ago, and we didnt really pay attention to the sticker of expiration and ended up buying bad chicken. You could smell how bad it was as soon as you opened the package. It was horrible!