Friday, June 4, 2010

What’s Lurking in Your Fridge?

A meeting with a colleague ran overtime on a Friday afternoon a couple weeks ago. As I dashed out the door I said, “I hope dinner’s ready when I get home”. Unfortunately, that’s not how it played out. I arrived home to discover our fridge sitting in the middle of the kitchen. Our four-year-old fridge had died.
We learned that General Electric (GE) had identified a defect with the motherboard. The only course of action was to replace the part. Ironically, our nearly-fifty-year-old GE fridge at the cottage is just fine. (Please don’t tell the energy police we have a fifty-year-old fridge.)
So we spent an hour shuttling the contents of our fridge to the overflow fridge in the basement. I also spent about 20 minutes emptying jars and bottles. I probably threw out $50 worth of sauces. Some were the mainstream grocery store items that I got tired of and never noticed were way beyond their Best Before date. But there were lots of dips and marinades purchased at trade shows, markets, or from independent grocers. These gems don’t have a BB date displayed.
It’s really worthwhile to check for a Best Before date as you take an item from your grocer’s shelf. Worst case scenario, check when you’re unpacking your groceries. If the manufacturer hasn’t suggested an expiration date, grab your permanent marker and write the purchase date on the container. Not all foods get green and fuzzy if left in the fridge too long. If you can reference your purchase date, you’ve got a good jumping off point to determine if the food in your fridge is safe.

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