Thursday, December 21, 2006

Drink that old milk

This is Japan, so it must be safe. I assume. I have noticed something a bit interesting at the Denenchofu Precce (over-priced Tokyu) grocery store. When I get non-fat milk (relatively rare in Japan) the expiration date is usually around 10 days from purchase. But when I lived in Kanagawa at Kajigaya, the Tokyu store there sold the same brand of non-fat milk with the expiration date usually 3-4 days from the time of purchase. Often, they would sell it up until the day before it expired.

Now I am just a stupid foreigner who doesn't understand pure Japan, but I suspect that they are taking the old milk (which is just a few days from going bad) from places like the Denenchofu Precce to less affluent areas like Kajigaya's Tokyu store, and selling it there until the freshness date finally expires. I have never seen milk sold in the Denenchofu store that was even close to being out of date. It always has at least a week of freshness remaining.

About 5-6 years ago there was a big scandal in Japan when Yuki (snow) brand milk repackaged and resold old milk which had gone beyond it's freshness date as new. A lot of children got sick and the company had to apologize and pretend to be sorry. Ultimately, it had to pretend to go out of business. You can still buy their milk products under the Yuki brand even though it was forced out of business.

Huh? You don't unnerstan'? Of course not. You are a foreigner, and foreigners can never understand Japan. Just accept what is said at face value and you will be closer to understanding. Make that pretend to accept.

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