Are we buying packaged food blindly?

Contrary to the popular belief the big grocery stores can be doing more harm to your family's meals than good. We often trade in our food safety for the ease and comfort of these big shopping malls. We fill our trollies with so much food and so quickly that checking for packaging and expiry dates is the last thing on our mind. 

Consequently we might hand over our kids an ice-cream cup without even checking on its safety. We could be feeding them packaged corn, fish, cookies and more without even knowing about the harmful preservatives and chemicals in it. The first step towards food safety is to understand these numbers and dates as they are the yardsticks that certify that we have made the right purchase to ensure good health for our family.

Here are few tips to check –

Sell by date – this is the shelf life of the products. This indicates the “last date to sell from the shelf “by a shop keeper. This is a clue to us about the freshness of the product. It means that the product is edible for sometime even past the sell by date but it has lost its highest level of quality.
Best before date – This means that the “quality of the product is best before” this date. This refers to the flavour, taste and texture of the product. For example- yogurt, consumed after the” best before date” will taste more sour, though will be safe to consume. Similarly crisps, whose best before date has expired, will taste less crispy and might give out a bad odour. Best before date is generally mentioned. Else it has to be calculated for the duration specified from the date of manufacturing.
Use by date/ expiry date - Any product that has past the expiry date should simply be thrown into the trash. Safety of the product cannot be guaranteed and consumption of this will cause food poisoning.
LOT number – This number is given by the manufacturer of the product. The products are generally produced in batches or lots. Each batch or a lot is given a unique number. For example – one “lot number” will be assigned to 500 loafs of bread or 100 dozen of cookies while they get manufactured and packed. When there is a problem with a product, the lot number is used by the manufacturer to pull all the products of similar lot number from the shelf.
Storage rules – The factors like temperature, humidity and light can affect the quality of a product, especially when it comes to meat, dairy and other highly perishable products. It is very important to read the storage rules. Incorrect storage of food can cause food spoilage and food poisoning. If product has a "use-by" date, follow that date. If product has a "sell-by" date or no date, cook or freeze the product according to the storage rules or chart given.


“As a chef, I am responsible for the safe preparation and handling of food and hence, it is important for me to be aware and be updated about safe food and good nutrition habits. In the same context, every mother feels equally responsible for her family and child’s food safety” Vikas Khanna , the renowned chef said the aforesaid words during “Right to Keep Food Safe” campaign organised by Tetra Pak , a fantastic initiative for a noble cause. As a mother we all are aware that we play a key role in creating a happy family and there is no doubt that a healthy family is the happy family. So but less and slow. But buy the best. 

food Adulteration is what we at KetchupMoms are covering all of this month. If you want to ask a question regarding the same, or if you have a tip or a video, or a post you would like us to share, please e-mail it to us at KetchupMoms@gmail.com 

Comments (7)

Sangita Marda Agarwal Posted on Oct 01, 2017

Interesting article. Thanks for reminding us about small things which we sometimes overlook could be so hazardous. Look forward to your next post.

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Kirat Posted on Sep 28, 2017

Insightful !!!!! While I am not the \"mom\" category , I am still a buyer of these products......thank you from a father !!

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Dileep Balakrishnan Posted on Sep 28, 2017

An educative article reminding us of our responsibilities towards our family. A reminder that would help us and ensure that we do not rush purchases that are going to land us in trouble. Hope we really apply our head and time to these small but very important tips. Thanks Jayanti and team for this enlightening article. Looking forward to many more of these for our own sake.

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Purvi Iyer Posted on Sep 19, 2017

A Good reminder to information that most parents know, but often forget when they are rushing through their grocery shopping as most Moms are always multi-tasking physically and mentally. We often tend to check expiration dates on dairy products but dont realize that all over the counter snack products , should also be checked before buying. \r\nWill keep an eye for more interesting articles here... Thanks Jayanthi & Team

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Deepa Dwarkanath Posted on Sep 12, 2017

Very handy tips while shopping edible goods. But the challenge is when the grocers pack certain things themselves and don\'t add such information to it. Also, in many cases, the seller himself is unaware of these safety yardsticks and stock stuffs. Sometimes, due to their storage conditions, the packed food/dry items contain insects. So how do we handle these?

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Regina Posted on Sep 11, 2017

Jayanthi.. a very good initative. . Most of de stuff that u mentioned we know it theoritically as moms or adults who do venture out with a shopping basket. . But de irony is that we all forget or don\'t always follow de basics while shopping. It\'s good u reiterate these points. \r\n\r\nWhen it comes to fresh fruits n veggies..spcially if u r buying from open markets or vendors .. it\'s not usually packed with expiry dates... specially like mushrooms or sprouts. .. I recommend that these be bought only if u r going to use them immediately or de same day. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n

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Balasubramanian Ts Posted on Sep 11, 2017

I totally agree and second Jayanti the Editor on this. Its now more of a habit now for me to check the dates of any and all packaged food. Iam slowly inculcating this \"habit\" into my family members as well especially my wife and mom bcos more often than not it is they who make the purchase. Ingredients too are something we need to be aware of. I too believe you could either be safe and educate and let your next gen follow this or be ready to be sorry.

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Jayanti Ramnath

Ketchupmoms, as the name goes, is a one-stop roof to catchup with your life and rejuvenate your insights. We are extremely delighted but a little perplexed as usual. Delighted, because of the quality

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