Elu­sive ex­pi­ra­tion dates

The Record (Troy, NY) - - YOURDAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane

DEAR­AN­NIE » OK, I re­al­ize there are in­nu­mer­able in­sur­mount­able, earth­shak­ing uni­ver­sal prob­lems in our world. This is def­i­nitely a “First World prob­lem,” but it is one that could be eas­ily fixed.

Could man­u­fac­tur­ers please mark their food prod­ucts with ex­pi­ra­tion dates that are easy to lo­cate and read? I prob­a­bly spend a third of my gro­cery shop­ping time squint­ing, turn­ing prod­ucts round and round or hold­ing them up to light, try­ing to lo­cate teeny-tiny black type on, for ex­am­ple, dark brown iced tea bot­tles or em­bossed let­ter­ing on lids of yo­gurt con­tain­ers. And why do they have the date stamped on the bot­tom, forc­ing peo­ple to pick up and turn each con­tainer? Why do they put dates on the ends of egg car­tons so peo­ple must un­load an en­tire shelf of frag­ile eggs try­ing to seek out the elu­sive printed dates?

How about some buyer-friendly bright type on the fronts of prod­ucts? Wouldn’t that be just as easy for the pro­duc­ers as what ap­pears to be their at­tempt to make buy­ers play hide-and-seek with th­ese dates?

Now back to fo­cus­ing on world peace Ex­as­per­ated by Ex­pi­ra­tion Dates

DEAR EX­AS­PER­ATED » Af­ter re­ceiv­ing your ques­tion and look­ing into it more, I was sur­prised to learn that there are no fed­eral laws re­quir­ing com­pa­nies to print ex­pi­ra­tion dates on food prod­ucts (ex­cept for in­fant for- mula and baby food). Some states have laws man­dat­ing ex­pi­ra­tion dates on meat and milk, but that’s about it, in terms of le­gal re­quire­ments. So you can’t rely on th­ese dates as the ul­ti­mate pantry author­ity; you might end up eat­ing some­thing that’s past its prime or throw­ing away some­thing that’s per­fectly fine.

Bot­tom line: Ex­pi­ra­tion dates can of­fer a help­ful guide, but you should still use your senses and com­mon sense to de­cide whether a prod­uct is safe to eat.

DEAR­AN­NIE » I am some­what ap­palled by “Wish She’d Stop,” who com­plained about her 82-year-old mother. Hav­ing her mother over once a week is very nice and ex­pected. Con­sid­er­ing no longer invit­ing her mother for din­ner is an in­di­ca­tion of this daugh­ter’s lack of com­pas­sion and un­der­stand­ing.

My 92-year-old mother lives with my hus­band and me, along with her yappy lit­tle dog, who has ac­ci­dents in the house of­ten. My mother has un­pleas­ant habits, as well. For in­stance, she leaves messes in the bath­room. I would never hu­mil­i­ate her by point­ing this out to her. I dis­creetly slip into her bath­room and clean the fix­tures. When we have guests, I leave an­ti­sep­tic wipes on the counter. I also have them use the other bath­room. When her dog leaves lit­tle gifts on the car­pet, I pick them up and never com­plain. It is my re­spon­si­bil­ity to take the dog for walks to avoid this in- con­ve­nience. I would never dream of strip­ping away my mother’s dig­nity by men­tion­ing th­ese in­con­ve­niences.

“Wish She’d Stop’s” mother changed her di­a­pers, wiped her snotty nose, ban­daged her scraped knees and cleaned her vomit. The el­derly re­vert back to child­ish habits. Such is life! This daugh­ter can of­fer to clean her mother’s den­tures and treat her wounds. The scab pick­ing should be brought to the at­ten­tion of her treat­ing physi­cian, as I be­lieve this is a psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lem.

It is no big deal to treat her mom with proper re­spect. Moth­ers this age come from the great­est gen­er­a­tion known in our life­time. They lived dur­ing the De­pres­sion and World War II. They have known real hard­ship.

Many or­ga­ni­za­tions in the com­mu­nity of­fer care­giv­ing classes, which I have taken. This daugh­ter could ben­e­fit from such classes. She would learn how to care for and un­der­stand her mother’s be­hav­ior Care­giver in Ari­zona

DEAR CARE­GIVER » Bravo for find­ing the most com­pas­sion­ate way to han­dle what many of us would con­sider prob­lems. Your de­gree of sym­pa­thy is in­spir­ing.

“Ask Me Any­thing: A Year of Ad­vice From Dear An­nie” is out now! An­nie Lane’s de­but book — fea­tur­ing fa­vorite col­umns on love, friend­ship, fam­ily and eti­quette — is avail­able as a pa­per­back and e-book. Visit http:// www.cre­ator­spub­lish­ing.com for more in­for­ma­tion. Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­nie@cre­ators.com.

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