The Sniff Test

I remember asking my mom many times if the milk in the refrigerator was still good. Every time I would ask I would be answered with the same thing go ahead and smell it. Does it smell bad? When I got older I realize that milk cartons and jugs had best if used by dates on them. This was great no more smelling of milk and guessing.

Here in the United States of America our grocery stores have packaged food and all that packaged food has dates on it and up until three years ago I thought hat these dates were expiration dates. Turns out the dates represent freshness not food safety.

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I listened to a podcast that described the process for creating the freshness dates. Grocery stores essentially created the freshness dates based on how fresh food tasted at different times on the shelves when the food tasted less fresh, they would create a date. So nt a safety thing at all. In aNPR podcast, an expert on food safety was interviewed about food safety and dates .

GONZALEZ: Emily says sometimes dates do matter but on, like, 1% of the food in stores. She says, you do want to pay attention to the dates on things that are in the prepared food section, like egg salad, deli meat, also unpasteurized milk and cheese, raw fish, think things we tell pregnant people not to eat. For everything else, Emily has one simple rule, use the smell and taste test.

BROAD LEIB: Take a pause. Look at the food. Smell it, taste it. You would know. You would, you know, be able to smell. Or if you took a tiny sip and the milk tasted bad, it would be apparent.

GONZALEZ: The smell test or the taste test. That’s it. That’s the rule. Just use your senses. Except sometimes the government literally doesn’t let you.

NPR podcast interview

I have heard and used the word sniff test many times since my mom introduced the sniff test to me. The sniff test albeit informan is an important test. We are faced with all kinds of situations everyday and some of thes situations can seem a little shaky or we maybe unsure about. What should we do? Use common sense and see if the situation passes that sniff test. This can be applied to all parts of our lives. Often there are things that are legal but totally immoral. A good sniff test will alert of us these things and we can avoid them.

Our common sense for food and life is often better than the freshness dates or the expert opinions. Often common sense will lead s to the same or near the expert opinion but if our refrigerator is not as cold as the supermarkets the sniff test and common sense approach may tell us that he milk is not as good in 12 days not the 14 on the tag.

We would all live healthier fuller lives if we learned to rely on common sense and expert opinions.

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