AT HOME, food bank admin supremo Kyle has a can of vegetables he keeps for posterity. The best-before date is six months before the day his daughter was born. She is ten.
The can was given in good faith to the food bank, and there have been plenty more donations approaching antique status, but Kyle's can is our record-holder
My PB is a jar of capers I found just three years out of date, but I am fiercely competitive and have now hired an expert - from the University of Cannes of course - as a personal trainer to improve my performance. 11-year-old mandarin segments are just waiting for me out there ...
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As a general rule if you find one dodgy can in a donated bag or box , you will peer at the rest with a sceptical eye. It's likely to be a cupboard clearance: a kind-hearted soul has got all the cans in the kitchen and brought them in, without thinking that he or she has been saying: "I don't really fancy those hotdogs sausages" for years, not months. Just after I found my veteran capers another volunteer found a four-year-old can of corned beef in the same bag. Damn them...
The veg in Kyle's trophy can is probably fine: I have enjoyed beer eight years out of date, and didn't I read something about canned food from Scott's Antarctic expedition being still edible?
The rule is that if something is just out of date it can be offered to clients as an extra but we can't issue it in a parcel, just as shops can't sell it and restaurants can't serve it.
So donors can do food banks a favour by just checking the use-by dates.
I hear tell of a donor at a collection centre arguing forcefully his out-of-date cans are "just fine" for foodbank users. Well they may be but why doesn't he want them? Just because the users are down on their luck doesn't mean they should get food too old to be sold, too old for the rest of the population to want: would that help restore their dignity?