When food journalism misses the point

Posted by Opinion piece by Joe Lederman on 3rd September 2019

Last week The Sydney Morning Herald shouted “Subway to add 6 months to shelf life”.

Surely there is a dissonance when a newspaper that usually rails against food waste runs a headline decrying a sandwich retailer, all because the Best-Before date of a condiment has been extended.

I can understand a potential conflict of interest between a sandwich retailer implementing measures to save on costs of food waste by improving the shelf-life of a food ingredient – as against the interests of an ingredient manufacturer preferring a shorter shelf life to maintain or boost sales.

No-one was suggesting serving customers stale bread or spread. And even if a journalist believes consumers must be served only “fresh” food, that description “fresh” must surely change according to the food type. We know fresh bread has a different temporal meaning from fresh milk.

Let’s not even discuss the meaning of fresh fruit. So why this scare journalism about our food? Surely if food science can safely deliver extended shelf life and maintain the fresh taste of food with sensory tests to prove it, why does the headline suggest consumers must be aggrieved?

Is the journalist seriously arguing it is about freshness of tomato ketchup or honey?

To access the original article by the The Sydney Morning Herald, click here.