Fresh Label Concept Keeps Markets Honest About Expiration Dates

Illustration for article titled Fresh Label Concept Keeps Markets Honest About Expiration Dates

There've been a few scandals in Japan involving food providers tampering with expiration dates, but if every perishable product had these Fresh Labels, tampering wouldn't be an issue: These stickers can never lie.

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The Fresh Label design works by detecting ammonia emanating from the product within and fading out accordingly. Once the ammonia level reaches a level deemed unsafe, the label will no longer be readable. It's a clever system that can't easily be manipulated, and provided it's reasonably cost-efficient, we could see it being adopted in large scale. Until then, follow the same rule as when choosing a possibly-dirty shirt from the laundry pile: If it smells funky, put it back. [Swiss Miss via Serious Eats

DISCUSSION

whoa... its about time!! many- and I do mean MANY- grocers "embellish" pull dates on products that should be tossed into the tallow bin, but add an extra day on the shelf (I have 30 years experience with the grocery indestry) and it ain't just the independant that does this, as major chains "accidentally" miss these items too.

Since the penalties are so light and stores are rarely audited due to budget cuts, this can add up to a big chunk of change over a month, making gross profits 3-5% higher in an average meat department.

Icky sometimes, but not even close to fatal, and you can take the meat back for a refund happily given- but so few people do this, the store still makes money.

If the use of these reactive labels were mandated, meat would not be any safer than it is now, it'd just be more expensive- the grocer'd have to be compensated for the labor and materials in the use of these. The industry as it exists now is for the most part safer, fresher and higher in quality than ever before but there are still folks out there that are willing to sacrifice integrity and ethics- not to mention a minor health issue- for a few extra points on thier gross.

Bottom line? know hat is good when you get it, raise hell when it ain't, and if it happens twice, call the local health department.

These stickers ain't for the consumers protection here- they are there to keep the aforementioned grocers honest.