Great Britain

Seven-month-old spuds and eight-day-old pigs in blankets — how ‘fresh’ is your Christmas dinner?

SEVEN-MONTH-OLD spuds and eight-day-old pigs in blankets.

It doesn’t sound very appetising but that could be your Christmas dinner.

On Monday we told how turkeys being sold as “fresh” in supermarkets have really been slaughtered more than a month before and kept at sub-zero temperatures.

Nigel Broadhurst, of the British Frozen Food Federation, said: “Most people are buying turkeys just before Christmas on the understanding it is a fresh bird. But they are not.”

Here is how old the rest of your festive feast may be...

Potatoes: up to 7 months

Farmers harvest their spuds in October and it is possible to keep the vegetable in sheds throughout the winter.

But if they are stored in temperature and humidity-controlled warehouses, they can be kept for up to 11 months before being sent to be cleaned and packaged.

Pigs in blankets: up to 8 days

There can be a delay between the slaughter and the meat making its way to supermarket shelves.

Sainsbury’s has said it can take eight days for its pork to get from the abattoir to its stores.

Brussel sprouts: up to 3 days

Brassicas, such as sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower have a large surface area which absorbs oxygen, meaning they will spoil quickly.

Carrots & peas:up to 9 months

Carrots are often kept cool in chlorinated water just above 0C before packing to ensure they keep their crispness.

If kept in these conditions, mature topped carrots can last up to nine months before decaying.

Smoked salmon: up to 2 weeks

Farmed salmon is kept in chilled water and transported to supermarkets within days of being killed.

But wild salmon could already be a few weeks old when it hits shelves due to it being “flash frozen”, a process where the fish is blasted with sub-zero air immediately after it is harvested.

Cheeseboard: up to 15 months

Cheese such as Cheddar is already ripe and will be vacuum-packed, so it may be several months old when you buy it in a store.

For extra mature varieties, the product can be aged for up to 15 months.

Chestnuts: up to 3 months

The harvest is usually mid-September through to November.

Once picked, the Christmas nut can be kept in a cool dry place for a few weeks, but could be older if bought frozen or tinned.

Bucks fizz: up to 2 years

Juices that are sold as “not from concentrate” will have either been treated with high pressure and filtering or pasteurised with heat.

And while suppliers will aim to shift all their produce as quickly as possible, juice can be stored in huge cold-storage tanks for up to two years without perishing.

Turkey farmer at Sainsbury's supplier secretly filmed crushing birds' necks

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