DailyDirt: How Long Can Food Last?

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Preserving food in various ways has been a pretty important part of developing stable societies. Without a reliable food supply, it's kind of hard to move forward and to do anything other than creating a stable food chain. But with modern food processing, food can last indefinitely... though it may have gone a bit too far. Here are just a few quick links on a how a few foods stand up to somewhat extreme conditions. By the way, StumbleUpon can also recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2011 @ 5:11pm

    My own anecdotal experiences today

    I just got done eating shrimp and was thinking how much it sucked. I grew up on the Gulf Coast but now live very far from any salt water. The stuff I ate probably came from Vietnam and of course was frozen.

    Did it "last"? Well yes in the sense that I'm sure I'm not going to get sick from it but having grown up with fresh shrimp caught within a day or 2 of being served to me I would say it did not "last".

     

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    Dennis S. (profile), Feb 7th, 2011 @ 5:17pm

    Actually the non-rotting hamburger stories have been debunked.

    Gizmodo - The Truth Behind the Everlasting Happy Meal: Burgers That Size Don't Rot
    http://gizmodo.com/#!5682815/the-truth-behind-the-everlasting-happy-meal-no-burgers-that-size-r ot

    Serious Eats - A Hamburger Today - The Burger Lab: Revisiting the Myth of The 12-Year Old McDonald's Burger That Just Won't Rot (Testing Results!)
    http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/11/the-burger-lab-revisiting-the-myth-of-the-12- year-old-burger-testing-results.html?ref=carousel

    It seems ANY burger that size left exposed to open air will not rot. Only thicker burgers with more moisture allow for mold or bacterial growth when left exposed to open air. And conversely even McDonald's Happy Meal burgers will rot if placed in a container where the moisture is trapped. Presumably this also applies to humid environments in general and to other similarly sized burgers.

    In other words, as stated in the Gizmodo article, "The scientific method! It's a beautiful thing."

    PS. I am in no way endorsing McDonald's food as good/healthy food. I do however endorse the scientific method with controls and the whole bit.

     

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    Michael Ho (profile), Feb 7th, 2011 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Actually the non-rotting hamburger stories have been debunked.

    Aha.. thanks for the experimental evidence. Nice to know that there's nothing special about a Happy Meal...

    But technically, it's not debunked that the meal won't rot... it just won't rot under certain conditions... which is probably true of the Twinkie as well.

     

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    wsuschmitt (profile), Feb 7th, 2011 @ 6:54pm

    Water Activity Is A Method Of Preservation

    Twinkies and those hamburgers have low water activities, and without free water in those systems, microorganisms can't grow. Jerky and fruit leather also have low water activities and won't rot either, but those are "traditional" foods that we don't think about...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2011 @ 8:54pm

    Re: Actually the non-rotting hamburger stories have been debunked.

    This is partly why the cure to things like the common cold (and bacterial infections, etc...) is simply to open a window. A closed environment is a safe-haven for microorganisms and it makes it much much more difficult for your body to get rid of them as well.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2011 @ 8:58pm

    Re: Re: Actually the non-rotting hamburger stories have been debunked.

    (and the biggest reason why people get sick in the winter is because they tend to close their windows and doors to keep warm. That's a no-no. If you want to avoid getting sick, don't do it. Especially an insulated warm environment, you're just begging to get sick.

    That's not to say hypothermia is not a potential risk (though it's more of a problem for the elderly). You still don't want your house to be freezing cold, you want it to be about room temperature, but living in a warm insulated environment is not good.

     

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    Rekrul, Feb 7th, 2011 @ 9:44pm

    Weird but true story;

    Occasionally I get a bacon cheeseburger at a local diner. It's served with lettuce and a tomato slice, but I prefer to eat the burger with just the cheese and bacon. I usually save the veggies and make a small salad the next day. A couple years ago, I forgot and left them in the Styrofoam container sitting on the counter for about 24 hours. It wasn't especially hot in the house. When I opened it the next day, the tomato slice was PURPLE! I picked it up and it looked like it had ink dripping off it! I have no idea what they did to it, but something was definitely funky.

    Also, two things you should never put in the microwave are English muffins and pizza. If you try to thaw frozen English muffins, they taste funny and have a different texture. If you heat leftover pizza the cheese loses its flavor.

     

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    Chris Ball (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 12:23am

    Beer

    Beer might not taste as good if it's the wrong temperature, and it might go bad if it stays too warm, but that distinctive skunky flavour isn't from heat, it's from light--or UV, to be more precise. That's why you should steer away from Corona and all those other beers that come in clear or even green bottles. Stick with brown bottles or cans, the beer will keep better. Also keep your beer in a dark place.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 1:16am

    My beer never lasts long enough for it to care where it is being kept, it's more worried about why it's being beheaded.

     

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    ChrisB (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Actually the non-rotting hamburger stories have been debunked.

    > (and the biggest reason why people get sick in the winter
    > is because they tend to close their windows and doors to
    > keep warm

    What? Very few germs are airborne; most are spread by touch. Opening a window won't do anything. The reason there are more colds in the winter is because people are indoors and in close contact more.

     

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    Al Terego, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 10:44pm

    Tech dirt Just Jumped the Shark

    What the heck is this? How does food preservation have anything to do with tech. Get this daily roundup crap off the site. We read Techdirt for the quality writing and insight, not to see this.

     

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    Michael Ho (profile), Feb 9th, 2011 @ 10:32am

    Re: Techdirt Just Jumped the Shark

    http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.run?_id=d880bb76b317b0be60231fa453b2ef2b&_render=rss

    If yahoo pipes still works, that feed should remove these posts for you....

     

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