Sunday, September 18, 2011

Did Al Capone invent sell-by dates and was that a good or bad thing?

A flurry in social media about Al Capone pioneering sell-by dates. On milk. It seems Billy Connolly revealed this fact a few days ago on his new Route 66 programme on ITV.

There's a move in the UK to dispense with sell-by dates, and I imagine this is what prompted Billy Connolly to look into the subject. Studies have shown that sell-buy and eat-by dates contribute to the horrendous waste of food in the West. 

I used to suspect them to be the invention of corporate lawyers rather than nutritionists. However it seems it was neither, but actually Al Capone in good guy mode.

Here's a story discussing food expiration dates and crediting Capone with introducing them. It’s the website of something called Times News Inc. I can't vouch for it. It says that whilst the Federal government viewed Capone as a gangster, to many people in his adopted city of Chicago, he was a modern-day Robin Hood. He was the first person to open a soup kitchen to feed the poor during the Depression, the article claims. At a time of 25% unemployment, Capone's kitchens served three meals a day to ensure that everyone who had lost a job could get a meal. And he even served the food out himself.

The Time Magazine cover depicting Alphonse “Scarface” Capone was March 24, 1930, and the story was his release from prison under a special Governor’s order.

As to eat-by dates, treat these as a rough guide only. Nature supplied us with noses, we should use them. For more see this story in the London Independent, 16th September. It says supermarkets oppose a new date labelling regime and claim it will increase and not reduce food wastage.


  1. Didn't believe me then hey had to dash to find out?!!

  2. OK maybe I ought to have credited Phil with telling me about Al Capone and milk, but hey, you hear all sorts of things, some true, some not, then you have to go and do your research ...

  3. What I really believed about Al Capone is that he is really the Modern-day Robinhood of 1920. Got the information in this site here's the link to that .

    I really don't know now what to believe. Some says he is a bad guy turned into a little good guy but others are saying that he was really bad. I think I'm needing more time for a research.


  4. That's what I'm thinking as well. There are other gangsters who turned out to be good and changed. Like in the case of Frank Lucas, he's now imprisoned and I think have repent.. Take a look at his story in this link..