Ground Beef Gains Time-Travel Ability

Nick didn’t notice the label on this package of ground beef until after he brought it home. Seeing how he bought it on November 20, 2009, and the label claims that it was packaged on August 8, 2004, he’s a little confused.


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  1. ludwigk says:

    Also note: Product of: Canada, Mexico, United States.

    Ground beef should not require the concerted effort of 3 separate nations to prepare.

    • JerryMouse says:
    • aguacarbonica says:

      I loved this comment.

    • crazydavythe1st says:

      @ludwigk: It’s probably just a way to short circuit the whole labeling thing. Is anyone really going to complain if their ground beef from Canada, Mexico, and the US is only from Canada? or only from the US? or even only from Mexico? If you’re ok with all three then you’re probably okay with some combination of the three, and they don’t have to put any effort into actual labeling.

    • Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

      @ludwigk: I noticed that right off too. Sheesh. That’s one of the reasons I just placed an order of grass fed ground beef from a local farmer. It’s ground at a small local processor. Cheaper per pound than the international stuff from ’04, too.

    • GitEmSteveDave_HazEnvy says:

      @ludwigk: Some chop meat sold in grocery stores is actually ground in store, and is “cut” with trimmings and scraps from other meat to get the desired fat content. So you may be getting a piece of filet mingon in there that the butcher miscut/wasn’t presentable. Since you are combining meat, in order to meat(pun intended) the labeling guidelines, you must list the source of all the meat you are putting in there. Put all the names of the countries your store gets beef from, and problem solved. I used to work in a grocery store, and while never actually working in the butcher dept., I talked to a lot of the butchers, and saw how some stuff was made.

      • Wombatish says:

        @GitEmSteveDave_HazEnvy: Boyfriend is a butcher, and you’re spot on.

        Catch the ground at around 8-9 am, it’s the best (if they actually put it out) since they cut in the morning and a lot of higher quality, mis-cut stuff works it’s way in.

        Also, even when ground comes in pre-ground, the plant may source from many companies and therefore many countries. Just put all of them on there, instead of tracking each individual shipment and printing labels for each.

        Same with pretty much anything… look at your juice, for example. Usually says Product of the USA and Mexico, or even more countries.

    • t0ph says:

      @ludwigk: YES. You are so correct.

    • CrashMurphy says:

      @ludwigk: That’s NAFTA for you.

    • Lowcifur says:


      Given it’s collaborative nature and time-travel properties, I can only surmise that this is the Large Hadron Collider of beef products.

  2. Radi0logy says:

    Bought at Wal-Mart? I don’t see the problem here.

  3. DjDynasty says:

    If it comes from the US, Awesome! If it comes from Canada, even better, if it comes from Mexico, send that shit back! I won’t buy anything from that country, not even the imported escorts I keep stiffing out of money :-P

  4. chatterboxwriting says:

    It’s probably just an error. I’ve bought lunch meat several times lately that was dated incorrectly. I know I bought it on X date, but the package was dated the wrong month or day.

  5. Optimistic Prime says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say the computer was reset somehow and reverted back to it’s original date. Chances are the labeling machine is about 5 years old.

  6. SatisfriedCrustomer says:

    I love how everyone just assumes the ’04’ means 2004 and not 1904 or 3004.

    • digitalmatrixio says:

      I used to work at a Stop & Shop in the Meat Dept & we would change the year in the afternoon so we knew if it was packaged in PM of that day. I would use 22/33 for am/pm as the year. I am sure this is the same case here, except it should have been changed to something else, basically something that would not be confused as the year.

    • TechnoDestructo says:

      @SatisfriedCrustomer: If it’s 1904, that probably means it’s organic!

  7. techman01 says:

    I’ve seen ground meat that looked fresher then that…

  8. Snaptastic says:

    I’ll blame Magical Trevor and a wayward spell.

    (yeah, it’s a bit of an obscure reference)

  9. SaraFimm says:

    I’m with the machine reset option. August instead of November and ’04 instead of ’09? Considering the lifetime and update in technology and government required changes, I can believe the machine has that (near similar) info for it’s start date. Although, if it reset on August 01, 2004 and nobody has noticed this for SEVEN days….

    As for the typeface, I hate it. I know it’s “required” info they print, but people with eye problems have trouble reading it (aka ME). If they use it for an ingredients label, heaven help the weak eyed.

  10. SlappyWhite says:

    This is one of those things that makes me think its a slow news day here on Consumerist. I mean, really? This deserves a headline?

    Its obvious that its an error on the tag, sometimes those type of things happen. Being human will do that to you. Any person can see that the meat isnt 5 years old. I dont know whats worse, the fact that someone took the time and effort to send this in, or that this site actually put it up.

    • JRock says:

      @SlappyWhite: I know “slow news day” comments are generally frowned upon, the whole “if you don’t like it why did you comment” stuff comes into play, and I so rarely criticize Consumerist, but, I kinda have to agree with this one – it’s a simple label error. It didn’t hurt anyone. It involved no email or letters to CEOs. I would put this about one notch above somebody finding a box of tissues in the cereal isle at the grocery store.

  11. Rachacha says:

    DON’T EAT IT – As we learned from Back to the Future, if this beef is really from the past, any interaction with modern day humans could rip the time space continuium and move us to an alternate reality.

    • sonneillon says:

      @Rachacha: But paradox is delicious.

      Side effects of paradox include nausea, bloating, head aches, disappearing from existence, becoming your own grand pa and possible sexual side effects. Do not conduct paradoxes if you are pregnant or might become pregnant.

  12. Smorgasbord says:

    No wonder there have been so many E. coli recalls for hamburger.

  13. Crim Law Geek says:

    If memory serves, when an old Mac lost its clock battery or the PRAM was reset, the date would revert to August 1904. Mayhaps their labeling is done on a way old Mac? It would explain the use of Chicago typeface too.

  14. witeowl says:

    OK, hear me out for a second. If someone did invent time travel (no, no, I’m not crazy), a package of ground beef would be a perfect first step for testing. I mean, you’d want to know whether something would age while traveling through time (otherwise it’s just stasis), but you might not want to risk the life and health of some poor, innocent animal. The fact that this packet of ground beef arrived in what appears to be an edible state is a good sign! Really, this is a brilliant first step! Now, the only question is: Is this from 2004, 3004, or some other ’04?

    Yes, I do have some work-work to do today. Why, yes, I do have a habit of finding any excuse to procrastinate. What does that have to do with anything?

  15. xredgambit says:

    Grocery freeze ray? It looks rather fresh.

  16. EdnaLegume says:

    sheesh… 3.89 a pound? and he bought it a few days ago (November of this year)… it shouldn’t be august anything.

  17. rwalford79 says:

    I believe Canadian meat must be just that…Canadian, or not at all. They dont import meat. So I been told. Which also explains why their meat is bland and has no taste to it (less cover and spices to flavor ill meat from nations the world over, like we do in the USA)…

    But its good after the first week of eating it.

  18. shawman says:

    What is wrong with some well traveled five year old ground meat?

  19. Ivory Bill says:

    Mystery Meat — not just for school cafeterias anymore.

  20. CarmineNormish says:

    Haha, this is from a grocery store in northern lower Michigan (Kalkaska, MI) There is another in Kingsley, MI. I used to work for the Kingsley store, mistakes like this are common, like moldy product on the shelves, expired food in the gas station, and we used to flip over cracked eggs, so that at first glance it looked like none of them were broken. I regret it now, but it was my first job, and just did what they told me.