Food Waste


The discussion about food waste on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme resonated particularly strongly with me this morning.  None of us likes to think we waste food but when I went to bed last night I was wishing that I’d thrown the bacon in the bin instead of making spaghetti carbonara with it.  As it turned out, no-one was ill, which was a huge relief, but I did not have a particularly peaceful night.

I was acutely aware that I should probably hurry up and use the bacon lurking in my fridge.  It was about three weeks past its “use by” date (yes, really) but to me it looked and smelt absolutely fine.  After his first mouthful my husband announced that it tasted odd and he was convinced it was off.  Youngest son and I, however, detected nothing and, either bravely or foolishly, carried on eating.  Fortunately, my husband did not need to go hungry because there was a portion of Lancashire hotpot left over from the weekend which we reheated (very thoroughly!).

He was incredulous that we could not smell and taste what he was smelling and tasting and I admit that this worried me, which is why I had a restless night.  I’ve always tended to use appearance and smell rather than the dates printed on the packets to help me decide whether food is usable, but this has dented my confidence.  “But the bacon was fine,” you might well say to me and you’d be right, but I trust my husband on these things and I think there’s no doubt that it was on the cusp and I feel lucky to have got away with it.  I have no intention of changing behaviour to such an extent that I neurotically throw away food the minute it hits the “use by” date, but I will be more careful in future.  The lesson I will take from this is of course that I should have made sure to use up that bacon three weeks ago.

(In the absence of photos of either food waste or bacon, I hope you like these roses, taken by my husband.)

7 thoughts on “Food Waste

  1. I love the roses.

    I think I take a similar approach to you: I hate wasting food but I’m not always organised enough to make sure everything is used up in time so I end up throwing things out and kicking myself for being louche and decadent.

    Hope you’re feeling better very soon.


  2. I ignore dates too. I use my eyes and nose.
    I think back to the days before ‘use by’ dates …even before fridges. But I too wish I was a little more organized. I blame ‘bulk buying’ and ‘bogof’ offers too.

    I hope you feel better soon.
    I’m off to check my fridge …..


  3. Hi Annette, We share a same problem. I must admit that I look at “use by date” and I get influenced by it. What I find useful to do is to freeze food when it is close to “use by date” and I know that I will not have time to use it before then. I understand how you feel responsible for other people’s health! Hope you are fine now.


  4. Hi Cristina! Yes, I always try to do the same and freeze food I know I’m not going to use. I feel lucky we weren’t ill this time but it’s dented my confidence because J could smell something that I couldn’t, and the bacon was well past it’s use by date. The roses photos were taken J: they’re his pride and joy. x


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