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Smell & taste; It is ok to buy expired foods - Donald E. de Castro

- Says dates on food labels mean absolutely nothing
Donald E. de Castro is imploring the people of the Virgin Islands to purchase more expired foods. Photo: VINO/File
'Dates on food labels means absolutely nothing, there’s no federal law requiring it,' Mr Donald E. de Castro he told Claude O. Skelton-Cline and the ZBVI 780am listening audience. Photo: Internet Source
'Dates on food labels means absolutely nothing, there’s no federal law requiring it,' Mr Donald E. de Castro he told Claude O. Skelton-Cline and the ZBVI 780am listening audience. Photo: Internet Source
Wefood, which sells expired food in Copenhagen, Denmark, had proved such a huge success as food waste becomes a hot topic worldwide that it opened a second branch in 2016. Photo: Soren Bidstrup/AFP/Getty Images
Wefood, which sells expired food in Copenhagen, Denmark, had proved such a huge success as food waste becomes a hot topic worldwide that it opened a second branch in 2016. Photo: Soren Bidstrup/AFP/Getty Images
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Former ’Straight Talk’ radio host and social commentator, Mr Donald E. de Castro has again raised concerns over the amount of global food wastage, including in the Virgin Islands (VI), and has proposed that Virgin Islanders buy more expired goods.

The controversial Mr de Castro made the comments on the Tuesday, July 9, 2019, edition of ‘Honestly Speaking’ with Claude O. Skelton-Cine. While saying that expired food is safe, Mr de Castro also warned of synthetic chlorine being used to treat utility as well as bottled water.

Mr de Castro had made similar comments on October 14, 2015 on his Straight Talk show aired on ZBVI 780 AM where he urged persons to save their hard earned money and purchase grocery items that might be on sale even though they are marked with an expiry date that's not far off.

Expiry dates mean nothing – de Castro

In revealing that his eyesight has taken a toll over the years, Mr de Castro was adamant, “Dates on food labels mean absolutely nothing, there’s no federal law requiring it,” he told Mr Skelton-Cline and the ZBVI 780 AM listening audience.

“It is a voluntary thing by manufacturers and one or two states mandate it,” he further said while pointing out some alleged meaningless dates such as, ‘expired’, ‘use best by’ and ‘use before’. 

“They have four or five different dates,” Mr de Castro beseeched in noting that the printed dates have no relationship to the quality of the product.

“When I use to eat junk and [withheld] have sale on expired stuff, I use to go and buy it, because I know it didn’t mean nothing [sic]. In Denmark in 2014, they opened the first supermarket selling expired food,” he said.

According to the British daily newspaper, The Guardian, in November 2016, selling expired food is legal in Denmark as long as it is clearly advertised and there is no immediate danger to consuming it.

A UN panel also back in 2016 said supermarkets’ preference for perfect-looking produce and the use of arbitrary “best before” labels caused massive food waste that, if reversed, could feed the world’s hungry.

Nearly 1.3bn tonnes of food are wasted every year, more than enough to sustain the 1 billion people suffering from hunger globally, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said.

Smell First

The ZBVI host also revealed that in France 2014, legislation was passed in supermarkets to prevent the dumping of expired foods, instead, mandating it to be disposed of through donations to people, local charities.

However, while challenging the public to “smell and taste,” expired goods before buying, Mr de Castro in throwing down the gauntlet also noted, “I use to buy [until] I started taking care of myself and only eating organic stuff.’

While products do have some shelf life after expiry, purchasing such goods carry a number of risk factors, according to industry experts.

Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) has reached out to Dr Ronald E. Georges, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the BVI Health Services Authority to verify Mr de Castro’s claims in relation to the VI.

What do the labels mean?

According to StillTasty.com, items marked with the label Use-By, Best if Used By, Best By, Best Before are generally found on shelf-stable products such as mustard, mayonnaise, and peanut butter.

“The date, which is provided voluntarily by the manufacturer, tells you how long the product is likely to remain at its absolute best quality when unopened. But, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service points out, it is not a safety date,” said the article.

It said that after the "use by" or “best” date has passed, you may start to notice gradual changes in the unopened product’s texture, color, or flavour. “But as long as you’ve been storing the unopened item properly, you can generally consume it beyond this date,” it said.

It said that your best bet for gauging whether an unopened shelf-stable product with this type of date is still of satisfactory quality is to simply smell and examine it first. “Always discard foods that have developed an off odour, flavour or appearance."

It said that the “Sell-By” label is mostly found on perishables like meat, seafood, poultry and milk. The date is a guide for stores to know how long they can display a particular product.

“You should buy the product before the sell-by date expires. But you can still store it at home for some time beyond that date, as long as you follow safe storage procedures,” it said.

“For instance, milk that has been continuously refrigerated will usually remain drinkable for about one week after the "sell by" date on the package. Likewise, you can store ground beef in your refrigerator for 1 to 2 days after purchasing it, even if the sell-by date expires during that time,” the article noted.

It said that for foods labelled “Expires On”, you should always use the product before this expiration date has passed.

8 Responses to “Smell & taste; It is ok to buy expired foods - Donald E. de Castro”

  • wise up (10/07/2019, 08:02) Like (4) Dislike (16) Reply
    Wa do this OLD MAN ME SON,I now know why he’s so ignorant and stupid remember when he tried to broke into the barber shop guessing he had a lot of expired FOOD THAT DAY
  • old man (10/07/2019, 08:31) Like (4) Dislike (14) Reply
    Older he gets the worse he talk
  • Hola! (10/07/2019, 08:31) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    Since we living in the last days, maybe the food manufacturers lying about the dates too. They could well stamp dates that the food would have already long be expired by.
  • Hmmmmmmm (10/07/2019, 08:38) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    “However, while challenging the public to “smell and taste,” expired goods before buying, Mr de Castro in throwing down the gauntlet also noted, “I use to buy [until] I started taking care of myself and only eating organic stuff.’”

    How can you be in the supermarket smelling up and tasting up the stuff before you buy? That happening here? Also, he says he use to buy ... now he gone organic to take care of himself but encouraging others to do what.
  • Wow (10/07/2019, 08:42) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    @ wise up
    Your so wrong but he was really on something I guess that expired food brings out the best in you ,so what he is saying is that it’s ok for merchants to sell expired foods like it’s ok to burn e waste and look at all the cancer deaths that we have in the western side of the country we need people with common sense putting out proposals not crazy and deranged so called talk show hosts that’s just my take of it ,so smell it if it smell good eat it ,my good ness god see for us they are so much different preservatives that expires and then there are different chemical reactions to these foods wow .
  • Jordana (10/07/2019, 08:42) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    @wise up.. some of what mr decastro is saying is true..yes we do waste a lot of food because it has been labeled expired.. this doesn’t mean that it’s no longer good for human consumption..foods and medications alike do have what is called a “shelf life”.. I’ve been into food research for years and the advice I would give is to research.. for e.g how many of u know that eggs are good for approx 1 month pass that sell by date on the box when kept refrigerated or tooth paste for 1-2 yrs pass the exp. date .. their was a study done in the US Army (I believe it was the army) where they stopped using meds like paracetamol as per expiry date only to find out that 2 years later they were still good just the efficacy was lower.. now please note that I am not telling anyone to use expired meds or foods; I’m saying be cautious..re: medications ask your doctor and as for foods - personally for me if I feel that I shouldn’t I don’t eat or drink ..WHEN IN DOUBT! DON’T.. BEST TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY..
  • Jordana (10/07/2019, 11:08) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    To add to what I’ve stated earlier, I don’t agree that one should be smelling and tasting the food before buying for this is very unsanitary why it’s so important to wash all fruits and vegetables for you really don’t know where persons hands have been prior to touching these items..That “expired on” date is saying that after this date that item will begin to lose its flavor.. truth is if your going to purchase items close to its expiration date eg (which can save u money for the price is lowered ) like milk products, yogurt, heavy cream etc then make sure u use them quickly like within 3 days after that date and when u go to use them at home yes “smell” for if they are “bad” they will emit an odor and u throw it out.. again best to be safe than sorry..
  • Let me know (10/07/2019, 11:58) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    The location display of expired goods should have a big signed marked expired good. They must be with in one month of expiration.. Let me buy them at a discount cost at my own risk. Anything expired more than a month should be disposed of and not be displayed for selling.... Expiration dates in most cases just mean the making company is free of responsibility after that date but most time the goods are good


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