Life (and Possibly Death!) in France

That’s What I Call Complying with Regulations

September 20, 2017By David JaggardC'est Ironique!

Like many countries these days, France requires all food products to be marked with a sell-by date. And like all sell-by dates, in the mind of the consumer they imply (but don’t actually mean) that the food will instantly turn rotten and probably toxic on that precise day.

Which is why I found this date stamp on a jar of Chinese barbecue sauce so amusing. I bought it in Paris in 2016, and it’s marked as good until 2030. Even though it’s meant to be smeared on meat and eaten, the stuff is so inert, so impervious to alteration, that it lasts longer than a car. There are walls in my apartment that are probably going to crumble before this sauce goes bad.

But beware! If you happen to own a jar from this same batch, mark that date on your calendar. If you still have any left on October 3, 2030 (the month comes second in French date abbreviations), be sure to get up early in the morning and spread it on your toast for breakfast, because it’s going to turn to deadly poison at 9:36am! Don’t forget!

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