Theresa May Eats Mouldy Jam. Would You?

The Prime Minister has divided her Cabinet with her stance on jam, but we shouldn't expect anything less from her

Theresa May jam

by Grazia |

There are very few maxims by which I live my life by but one is that supermarket sell-by dates are a con. I am and have long been convinced that they just encourage us to buy more and waste food that is probably fine to eat.

There are two kinds of people – those who throw food away as soon as it hits its use by date and those who, like me, push these rules to the limit.

My stance has led to more than one heated discussion in my house (flat), most recently involving potatoes that were three weeks out of date. I was prepared to eat them, my boyfriend wrestled them off me and put them in the bin.

So, it’s fair to say that I have skin in the game when it comes to what will henceforth be knowns as #JamGate aka the most British political debate of all time.

It seems that the Prime Minister has divided not just her Cabinet but the country with her latest pronouncement. Fortunately, for a change, it’s not about Brexit.

At Cabinet yesterday Theresa May reportedly caused complete chaos by announcing that she scrapes the mould off the top of jam and eats what’s underneath in a conversation about how to cut down on food waste. She apparently said that what’s left is ‘perfectly edible’ and that people should use their ‘common sense’ to check whether or not something is edible.

None of this should come as a surprise. This is the ‘just get on with it’ brand of common sense living we’ve come to expect from May. And, while her confession may have divided the cabinet as it has Twitter, Mrs May is not alone.

According to the Food Standards Agency, around one third of UK consumers – that’s over 20 million people – say they would eat food based on the way it looks and smells instead of living and dying by a use before date.

There’s no doubt that we waste too much food. According to the UN a third of all the food produced for human consumption across the world is wasted. In Britain alone, that’s 7.3 million tonnes and £13 billion worth of waste every single year. This costs the environment because disposing of this waste creates excess carbon dioxide and it costs us. It’s thought that the average UK household wastes around £470 worth of food a year.

On the whole, food safety experts seem to agree with May. It’s probably fine to scrape the mould off jam and eat what lies beneath. Ditto hard cheeses like Cheddar and Pecorino (but never soft such as Brie and Camembert). Obviously, though, but it would also never be a good idea to do this with raw meat.

Anyway, back to Theresa May’s jam. There are pressing questions to be asked.

Is she closing her jam jars tightly enough? Is she dipping her knife in the butter and then the jam jar? Exactly how long does she hold onto a jar of jam for? Does she put her jam in the fridge?

Jam is a preserve so it’s literally meant to stay in a stable condition over time. If May makes her own jam is she putting enough sugar in there?

Mould in your jam jar might not quite warrant binning the whole thing but it’s not exactly pleasant. It’s an inconvenience that can be easily avoided with simple tricks such as using a separate jam and butter knife.

Hot Housekeeping Tips by Mrs May might well hit the shelves whenever she does decide to stand down but, before that, there’s the small matter of Brexit. And, unlike a jar of jam, when it comes to the future of the country we can’t just ignore the things that aren’t working and focus on the stuff that looks good.

Without getting too allegorical about this, sometimes you just have to accept that something is no longer worth pursuing with, especially if it could make you sick. Waste not want not and all that, but don't be afraid to throw rubbish in the bin and start again.

In life, if something looks bad on the surface, then it probably is underneath too and that’s a sign that something has is wrong which shouldn’t be ignored.

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