Saturday, January 2, 2010

expiration dates

I think a note on expiration dates might be in order.
Expiration date refers to safety; shelf life refers to quality. Something about "Shelf life is the recommendation of time that products can be stored, during which the defined quality of a specified proportion of the goods remains acceptable under expected (or specified) conditions of distribution, storage and display." That's from Wikipedia.
But I'm more interested in an individual's interpretation of those numbers.
For something that I really need to work, yeast or baking soda, I'll be pretty strict about the expiration date. Since yeast is a "live thing" I won't use it after e.d., baking soda, I might give it a year.
Anti-inflammatories, I'll go several years. Sugar, honey, chocolate? I don't know, I never reach that date.
Perishable foods, I go less. I had food poisoning once and it instilled in me an excess of caution. Which is what differentiates me from my terrier. He gives himself food poisoning at least once a month eating from the myriad of deer carcasses that hunters leave strewn about. This results in vomiting-- in my car, on my carpet, on the sofa, in my bed, and also diarrhea-- on the carpet, in my shower, on his bed, both, always in the middle of the night. At least once a year, one of those bouts of food poisoning lands him in the hospital on IV fluids. But a week later, still shaky and mournful, he will drag himself down to the now older and even more fetid and putrid carcass and have another go.
The expiration date I pay closest attention to? The date on the bottle of hydrogen peroxide I squirt in the back of his throat to induce vomiting before he can actually poison himself and ruin my night.

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