Food Expired? Don’t Be So Quick To Toss It

Whatever we all might believe about personal responsibility and self-determination, I think we can all agree that it doesnt apply to children, Obama said, adding that she had a simple request: Do even more and move even faster to market responsibly to our kids. The meeting in the State Dining room was another sign that Obama, who has become widely known for her campaign against childhood obesity, is more forcefully taking on the role of referee between the politically opposed factions in the food wars. Her meeting, which the White House touted as the first of its kind, comes on the heels of fresh conversation sparked by reporting in the book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us , which lays out the ways the processed food industry has effectively marketed junk food to children. Obama spoke of being a busy working mother reliant upon processed foods to feed her children. She recalled looking for juice boxes her daughters could drink in the back seat, cereal they could pour themselves and food she could pop into the microwave. Rather than beating down corporate food companies, Obama made the business case for healthier food options, saying that just as she had become a more nutrition-savvy mother so had many other Americans. Moms like me are relying on you to help our kids get excited about eating healthy food, she said, adding that 86 percent of the products marketed to children are loaded with sugar, fat and salt. Through the magic of marketing and advertising you all have the power to shape our kids tastes. Last year she was on hand for an announcement by Walt Disney Co. that it would ban advertising for junk food from its television channels and theme parks, and Obama said she would be happy to cheer other companies that made similar commitments. She has lauded lauded Birds Eye, a frozen food company for using characters from the show iCarly to market vegetables to kids. But public health advocates remain suspicious, said Aviva Must, who chairs the department of public health and community medicine at Tufts School of Medicine. I think the food companies know a lot about marketing and if they are truly, sincerely marketing healthful foods, they can help shift child consumer demands to a more healthful product, Must said. The uneasiness is the extent to which they are sincere partners in changing eating habits. Two years ago the Obama administration tried to get the food industry to agree to marketing guidelines that asked companies to only market healthy food to children, Must said.

A customer scans the expiration date on gallons of milk sitting at a Safeway grocery store in Washington.

“Sell by”: This date is only intended to help manufacturers and retailers, not consumers. It’s a stocking and marketing tool provided by food makers to ensure proper turnover of the products in the store so they still have a long shelf life after consumers buy them. Consumers, however, are misinterpreting it as a date to guide their buying decisions. The report authors say that “sell by” dates should be made invisible to the consumer. Jena Roberts, vice president for business development at the food testing firm, National Food Lab, studies “shelf-stable” properties of foods to help manufacturers determine what date indicates when their products are at their best. “The food has to be safe, that’s a given,” says Roberts. “[The manufacturers] want to make sure the consumer eats and tastes a high quality product.” But she acknowledges that even if the food is consumed after its ideal quality date, it’s not harmful. A strawberry-flavored beverage may lose its red color, the oats in a granola bar may lose its crunch, or the chocolate clusters in a cereal may start to ‘bloom’ and turn white. While it may not look appetizing, the food is still safe to eat. “It’s a confusing subject, the difference between food quality and food safety. Even in the food industry I have colleagues who are not microbiologists who get confused,” she says.

Anthony Bourdain explains the Israel-Palestine conflict through food

From there, he talks about falafel and borders, hummus and the occupation. He asks settlers why they tolerate “price tag” attacks against Palestinian communities. He points out Palestinian street art glorifying airplane hijackers. He goes to Gaza. He eats and eats and eats. You can watch the whole thing, and in pretty good quality, right here: It’s not just Bourdain’s tortured ambivalence about the politics, both geo- and identity, that makes his Jerusalem program so good. He gets at, or at least tries to get at, some of the core issues by approaching them simply as a food and travel writer. He’s a tourist and foodie, but one exploring Jerusalem’s history and politics by way of its sights and smells. Much of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in a way about identity, and food is a part of identity. Food also humanizes. It’s a ritual we all know and that’s meant to bring people together. And we can all agree that both Israeli and Palestinian food is delicious as well as being often quite similar. Maybe most helpful is the way that Bourdain foregrounds his own struggle to navigate it all. That he is so wary of the politics, and skeptical of his own ability to understand it, makes him a potentially very effective proxy for regular American TV viewers.

Food storage looks good in a vacuum with VacuVita

Available to order in a variety of colors, the VacuVita and Coveros system gives users the opportunity to mix and match.

Except, even cornucopias go bad and then nobody gets to enjoy the bounty. Luckily, ways have been devised to slow food spoilage and keep that food fresh for a while longer. And now at least one of those solutions looks good while doing it. The VacuVita is a countertop vacuum storage solution that comes complete with special containers for the fridge the company has dubbed Coveros. The main unit lives on the countertop and features an attractive design that at first glance looks nothing like a vacuum unit. Additionally, the mix and match vacuum and storage containers add utility through ease of use and increased capabilities — larger nonperishable items can be stored inside a large Covero as the main vacuum unit is incorporated directly in the lid. Apparently, people agree: the VacuVita is a crowd-funded success and has raised over half a million dollars, no doubt in large part to its user-configurable design. (Some examples of colors: Taggiasca Olive Green, Dutch Royal Orange and Oval Room Blue.) Set to be released by the end of the year, the new vacuum sealer looks to alter the food-saving landscape and look good while doing it. And more importantly, the food will look good, too. Topics: Brian Krepshaw Brian is the author of the culinary based novel Stealing Food Road . A lifelong Californian, he has been consistently exposed to some of the best food in the world.