Stop the presses! For once in my life, I actually agree with something Gordon Brown has said: we need to reduce the amount of food that goes to waste.
Unfortunately, I can predict exactly the way that his message is going to go down with the public: people are going to talk as though they had some sort of “right” to waste food.
It would be nice to see a bit of legislation aimed at curbing the activities of supermarkets, who have to take some of the blame here. Firstly, ban “buy two, get one free” – type offers on perishable goods: these offers encourage irresponsible purchasing and lead to waste. A simple 33% price reduction would achieve the same effect. And secondly, force them not to set such pessimistic expiry dates. I have found some foodstuffs to be quite edible a week or more after the date stamp. Actually, a national campaign to educate people how to tell if food is fresh enough to eat would not be a bad idea. And if as a side effect it persuades them to take expiry dates with a pinch of salt, then so much the better. (I’ve even seen expiry dates on fucking talcum powder, for crying out loud. In case anybody doesn’t know, talcum powder is a rock, just ground up small. It’s been fine for millions of years — well, 6000 years if you’re American — so why the fuck does anyone think another few months are going to make a blind bit of a difference?)
It’s not that I think my fridge is particularly special (it’s got to be at least six years old, because I bought it while I was still in my previous job); I just learned, somewhere along the way, how to tell whether or not food was safe to eat. And I prefer to rely on the evidence of my own senses rather than some absentee authority who does not know anything of the circumstances where it was being stored. How do they know I’m not keeping my cooked m**ts on a radiator? However, I’ve seen people throw away perfectly edible food just because of the date; so maybe they genuinely don’t know how to tell whether it’s safe?
Also, anyone caught throwing food away (which, in case you haven’t noticed, I happen to think is a cunt’s trick) should be imprisoned — and made to go without food for as long as the food they threw away could have fed them for. And if it’s their second offence, twice as long.