Am I hearing things? A Government minister contradicting "sell by" and "best before" dates? Surely not. These are the sacred cows of consumerism! But it appears so: Hilary Benn says we need to re-think these cursed dates to keep our food supplies "secure". Is the nanny state actually saying that we might trust our own senses to decide on something so serious as whether our bacon is "off"? I need a stiff drink.
Having put up with use-by and sell-by for decades we might - finally - start relying on our senses to tell us whether our food has gone bad. Staying with bacon, it is pretty obvious that it has "gone". It looks, smells and tastes terrible. For other things it hardly matters. I never mind cutting a piece of mouldy cheese off a block and scoffing the rest. I don't like the black pulp that bananas turn into, but I don't like them under-ripe either. Now here's strange: I can tell what a banana looks like when it is edible. [Gasp] Oh yes. Gather round and learn.
I hope that the British consumer will now stop racing downstairs each morning to see which cans and packets are out of date; which eggs are still edible; cornflakes, milk, butter... What do we junk today? Quick, before it explodes!
Have you noticed that bottles of wine do not carry a best before date? The French, probably.