The wrap-up: Digitized shelf life at home

As many have learned over the years, avoiding food spoilage is a good thing.

Pw 8989 7 Nl Pi Rl Daysago

Several months back, we took a look at product freshness and coding and what it means via a report from Phil Lempert, The Supermarket Guru (see Expiration dating explained, published December 1st, 2006).

Yet looking at use-by or freshness dating is only part of the equation…what happens, for example, once a shelf-stable product has been opened and refrigerated?

How do you keep track of it then?

You may be asking for trouble with an FBI (food-borne illness) if your only recourse is your memory and an impromptu sniff test.

If you're like me, you've made a rudimentary attempt to occasionally improve the process by labeling or marking the package on the date you opened it. Here at the office kitchen, a marker attached to the refrigerator with labels nearby encourages us to do just that.

While that's a step in the right direction, there's a better way.

DaysAgo from double u products digitizes what has been an inexact science. The company bills DaysAgo as "the only digital day counter that helps you easily remember how many days ago you opened anything."

It doesn't just help you, it shows you.

The small and practical gizmo, which measures 1 1/2 inches in dia, counts up to 99 days. It also counts the hours. It is available in assorted colors in magnetic or suction-cup versions to attach to containers. The company's Web site has a link to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration page that offers a helpful list of guidelines for food storage.

For me, the digital precision is a neat thing, and it may be worth checking out. A two-pack retails for around $11. It is reusable, and the replaceable battery is expected to last months. And it can help you time other things, too.

Don't just take my word for it: In December, DaysAgo was named best new household product for 2007 in Good Housekeeping's 12th annual Good Buy Awards.

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