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Making Waves

Degree to read meat

By Shannon Snoes

I recently got sick from eating packaged sausage - despite cooking it by the book - and checking it with a meat thermometer

So, i called the company to let them know - of course making sure i didn't goof up and use old meat - before i did so.

After inspecting the package - I discovered the only 2 sets of numbers included the upc label - and a stamped 8235  -  I didn't see a "best before" date or "packaged on" date anywhere.

But it turns out, after speaking with company officials, that the stamped 4 digit number is their version of a "packaged on" date

The first number stands for the year and the last three digits  - the day of the year it was packaged on - so in this case, the 235th day of 2008.

Since when do you need to be a rocket scientist to figure out how old something is?

I politely asked my customer service agent how - without shopping with a company rep - was I supposed to know or figure that out?

Apparently my comments will be forwarded on to marketing research - "apology meat vouchers are being sent my way" - and my customer service rep handled the call as well as could be expected - as he doled out "again, I'm terribly sorry m'am" every few minutes

Certainly my remarks about what could be a potential life and death situation are more worthy being brought to the attention of some guy in a shirt and tie in a board room trying to figure out how to market the newest product?

Thankfully I wasn't sicker than I was -- but I'm still greatly disturbed.

Why would a company create a "packaged on date" only they understood, when it's us, who buy the product and need to know that information?

More importantly - does our government know about this sort of system and how it means nothing to the average person buying the product?

And finally - i wonder, how do you put a dollar value in meat vouchers on my loss of time at work - and having to deal with a very sick household?

I guess I'll find out in 5 to 7 business days.

From Where I Sit, I'm Shannon Snoes


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