Ten years is a long time to argue over the expiration date of food that has been opened and stored in the fridge. But for one married couple, it took a decade before a container of sour cream finally settled the debate.
Reddit user Pdxchris shared that he and his wife had been arguing for 10 years over whether the foil seal on packaged foods actually preserved its freshness. It wasn’t until the couple opened a tub of sour cream and found printed instructions underneath the seal that they finally had an answer to end the bitter dispute:
Some commenters had a pretty good laugh proposing what extreme measures the husband may have gone through to prove his wife wrong, such as this comment from Reddit user olov224:
Hello sour cream company, can you please tell my wife that I don’t need to save the foil top to keep it fresh?
I got you bro
Others joked there was a more nefarious reason behind the company’s willingness to print such information for the unsuspecting consumer. As thebreaksmith wrote:
Ha! Obviously a ploy by the sour cream lobby to ensure everyone’s sour cream goes bad faster. Not falling for it.
I’m not falling for big cream’s propaganda again.
The silver seal found after the lid is removed on food items is known as a heat induction seal. According to Container and Packing Supply Inc., heat induction seals work by preserving a product’s freshness and extending shelf life, while also creating a way to show if food has been tampered with. Containers are sealed after they are filled by the manufacturer.
As for dairy products that use induction seals, Enercon Industry explains that heat induction seals help prevent a product from leaking and protect against germs in order to extend shelf life.
But the question that continues dividing households remains: Should the seals be completely removed upon a product’s opening?
Another husband sought to test this theory out, sharing in an online community forum that his wife and mother-in-law insisted on leaving the foil seal partially on items such as baby food and Pringles, much to his frustration:
I always found it annoying to try squeezing chips out through the partially pulled off foil wrap, and would promptly take them off as I believe that once the seal is broken, the foil top actually serves to worsen the seal of the plastic top because there are now two layers of imperfect surfaces of which air/moisture can get in through.
Other commenters seemed to agree that the foil lining had no purpose after it was opened:
Anything that can get through the lid’s seal will CRUISE through the foil which is not sealed.
If you have a foil seal under a normal lid, the idea is to protect against long term moisture. The lid can protect against short term moisture. A broken foil seal couldn’t possibly protect against any moisture. Ergo — Once it’s broken, it’s useless. Take it off.
As for official guidelines, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which promotes food safety education, has not weighed in on the matter.
Although the debate has been settled for Prxchris and his wife, the war in other fridges and pantries rages on.