Tuesday 11th August 2009

Well back here in kennels, in between trying to keep Shadow amused, I am contemplating best before dates. The Government want to encourage us to ignore them. Now this is all very well, but a whole generation of children seem to be growing up thinking of them as ‘use by’ dates and won’t touch anything that has gone past them. Oh they are helpful enough when you are buying food, as a way to make sure that you are buying the freshest foods. But once you get them home they are only useful as a reference to how long it is since you cleaned out the cupboard. My Mistress has developed a neat trick to deal with the concerns of other household members. Where it is possible, she moves the contents into a newer box, so that no one knows they are technically out of date. Ok, so the biscuits in the house may be a bit soft and some items a little stale, but if no one complains and she hasn’t made them ill yet, what is the point in getting quite so worked up about it. People survived years ago by making their own judgements. What best before dates have really done is take away people’s abilities to make decisions for themselves. All you have to do is sniff, nibble, break as appropriate and you can develop your own best before system.

For reference, if it is only just past the date and you are thinking of throwing it out, the dog will usually happily eat it for you to save on rubbish disposal. If however it is a use by date and you are offering milk that is half way to becoming cheese, or for that matter any other sort of milk, then please don’t pass it in our direction.