I know some people buy their Christmas presents in July, but soon they will be able to buy their turkey in the height of summer too. And keep it fresh until December – and possibly beyond.
How? Well, it’s due to a too-good-to-be-true substance called bisin. This preservative occurs naturally in certain types of bacteria (eg, Bifodobacterium longum) that are harmless to humans. Microbiologists at the University of Minnesota discovered bisin by accident when studying organisms that populate the human gut. We are told it is safe to use. Its seemingly magical powers are said to be based on its ability to kill the bacteria that trigger decomposition in the fresh proteins found in meat, dairy, eggs and fish (but not fresh vegetables or fruit). It also prevents the growth of food-poisoning bacteria such as E.coli, salmonella and listeria.
So is this end of the sell-by date? If so, is it something to be applauded – or to be concerned about? Personally, I find something unnatural and disturbing about cheese that never moulds or milk that never sours.