In the USA, it is, I understand, a great insult to call a member of the fair sex a “Tub of Lard”.  So folks from across the Pond may do a slight double-take when they read 

Tub of lard found fit to eat after 64 years

Millions of tins of “Swift’s Bland Lard” –which was used as a spread similar to butter or as a cooking fat – were distributed by US soldiers to West Germans after World War II in care packages that included other essentials like powdered milk, cheese and sugar.

Some of those made their way across the Iron Curtain, including one to Hans Feldmeier, a pharmacist from the Baltic Sea town of Warnemünde who never opened the can.  Worried that it had long passed its expiration date, the 87-year-old recently decided to turn it over to the state for a comprehensive inspection.

The response was surprisingly positive.

“Overall, the product has a degree of freshness and material composition necessary to be assessed to be satisfactory after 64 years,” according to the State Office for Agricultural, Fisheries and Food Security, although it could not compete with the quality of a fresh sample. Still, it appeared to be fit for human consumption, they said.

Feldmeier promptly asked for his tin of lard back, calling it “beautiful” and saying he couldn’t imagine parting with it.  So the authorities sent it back to him – empty.

In view of this – should one not be so concerned about use-by dates marked on produce?