08 August 2007

Yuck! but what a good idea!

Fed up of overpriced food in the supermarkets? Why not wait until the shop closes and then get the food out of the dustbins?

OK, I know that sounds really gross, but people can and do actually do this all the time. Supermarkets chuck out a phenomenal amount of perfectly good food, all thanks to legislation to protect stupid people. I spent years trying to persude someone that 'Best Before' doesn't mean 'Posionous On'. It used to drive me mad. When I was short of cash, I'd go through the 'reduced' section at the supermarket and buy the stuff where it was on it's last date. I'd take it home, put it in the fridge and ten minutes later, my boyfriend would throw it in the dustbin saying "You can't eat that, it's gone 'foisty'. What he actually meant was "I'm too stupid to be able to tell whether that food has gone off or not, so I'm throwing it away."

OK, I'll start with the dairy. Come on, I mean why does live yoghurt have a 'best before' date on it? Think about it. If it ain't covered in fur, it's OK to eat. Heat it up a bit and add more milk and it'll make more yoghurt for you. People seem not to know how foods are made these days. Same with cheese. If it hasn't gone hard, and doesn't have mould on it, then eat it. If it does have mould on it, cut it off and then eat the bit that isn't mouldy (unless it's a blue cheese, in which case it's supposed to have the mould in it). Milk: great stuff. If it smells funny and has gone lumpy, chuck it away. If it hasn't, then drink it, regardless of what the date on the bottle says.

Then there's stuff like fruit and vegetagbles. For heaven's sake, if you're too thick to notice when your fruit and veg have gone off, you really need help.

I digress. So, back to our Freegans. Would you go dumpster diving for food? Well, I'm not sure I would, unless I was desperate. I'd take packaged stuff, but I'm not so sure about loose stuff - you don't know what it's been in contact with.

This does open up a wider argument though. Why is so much perfectly good food thrown away? If they can't sell it in time, why do they over-stock? Why don't they drastically reduce the price to sell it off? Perhaps in this consumer-driven age, the punter is given too much choice. Do we really need 27 different brands and 150 different flavours of tomato sauce to put on our pasta? I think not, despite what people might say about competition and valid business. The world has gone mad.

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