A man with a “titanium stomach” has garnered more than four million views on TikTok after testing how far he could extend the shelf life of food – including eating a fried egg 73 days past the previous best day.
Gavin Wren, 44 years old, from Forest Gateeast Londonwas on a stomach-churning quest to find out if staple foods found in many of our refrigerators, including hummus, coleslaw and yogurt, could last much longer than what you can expect or not and what they do to him if he eats them when they are out of the day.
His experiments – some of them against government safety advice – could resonate with people worried about food costs like Brother faces the highest inflation rate in 40 years but be warned: Don’t try this at home.
In her day job, Gavin, who is in a relationship with artist Uli Ap, 41, advises organizations on how food production can become more sustainable.
But he is not a food safety expert and admits that some of his 54k TikTok followers are worried about him, saying: “I get a lot of messages. from people asking me if I would still be alive, if I didn’t post for a day.”
So far insisting he’s “absolutely fine,” he explains that there’s a serious mission behind the bizarre challenges he shares online – preventing food from being thrown out if it doesn’t. unnecessary.
“I am shocked by the amount of food we waste,” he said.
“I grew up in a family where if something looked and smelled good, you would eat it. Maybe that gave me a titanium belly.
“However, the point of the challenges is not to shock or disappoint anyone, but to show people that food can last longer than you expect.”
He added: ‘People always ask me if I’m sick, and I swear to God I’ve never had a stomach bug or any illness.
“I’ve been perfectly fine with all of them.”
The foods Gavin sampled included hummus that was 17 days past use – only to stop when a microbiologist found bacteria in it – and he recently posted a video of himself eating a large spoonful of yogurt, 31 days after the date of use.
On its website, Food Standards Agency (FSA) explains, best before date is “in terms of quality and not safety”, while shelf life is “in terms of safety” and they advise against eating, cooking or freezing any food that has been Overdue use.
And the FSA’s head of Foodborne Disease, Narriman Looch, also sternly warns: “Never eat food that’s past its use-by date, even if it looks and smells fine, as it can leave you sick Sick”.
But Gavin, who doesn’t have an underlying health condition that could make him even more susceptible to the effects of food poisoning, and keeps his food in a well-regulated refrigerator, doesn’t seem to be. disappointment.
His first experiment in February 2022, involving four eggs, would probably disappoint most people as well, with one eventually turning green.
“I’ve known for years that eggs last longer than the best of times,” he said. That’s something I figured out about 10 years ago.
“In my opinion, eggs are a food that people are a bit afraid of. I don’t think anyone wants to eat discarded eggs.”
His TikTok followers, he said, “were really invested in the journey of these eggs,” as he repeatedly placed two of them, which he jokingly named Oswald and Olivia. , in the water after they are best before the day to see when they will float – which will indicate that they have rotted.
By May 12, the eggs were 73 days ahead of their previous best and Olivia and Oswald were starting to float, but one of the spare eggs he kept in the fridge didn’t float much and still lying under the water. “I opened them up to check, and one of the floating eggs turned green slime but it didn’t smell, which is interesting.”
But after opening the half-floating spare egg and sniffing it, he decided it was “absolutely good”.
“I fried it and it was delicious,” he said.
When it came to outdated hummus, an experiment he tried in May, Gavin got worried when it was 14 days past its shelf life and sent the sample away for lab testing, though he continued. taste. three more days.
He said: “I hooked up with a microbiologist who did some testing on a sample I submitted.
“She found some bacteria and she advised me not to eat it.”
He followed her advice and stopped, but no less, he didn’t feel the bacteria that grew into hummus had defeated his cause, arguing: “I ate it every day for two days. week before and feeling fine.”
Experiments are not how Gavin started on TikTok in 2020.
With five years of experience as a food writer and a Master’s degree in Food Policy which he completed in 2018 at City College London, he plans to let people know food. where he came from when he started posting as @gavin.wren.
“I started posting videos in early 2020, and I just really messed up,” he said.
“I’m just trying to help people learn where their food comes from and educate people about food.”
But his old-fashioned food challenges have seen his latter number double in the past three months alone.
While Gavin doesn’t advocate for people to risk their health by eating used or expired food, he does encourage people to use their senses to see and smell food before throwing it away. .
He added: “This is how I live my life.”
“Never eat food that is past its use-by date, even if it looks and smells fine, as it can make you sick,” says Narriman Looch, Head of Foodborne Disease at the FSA.
“We know many people are concerned about food affordability and food waste.
“There are a few things you can do to reduce the amount of food you throw away, such as following the storage instructions on the packaging, checking the refrigerator before shopping, and trying to use up food that is nearing its expiration date. used before.
“To help cut waste, we work with food manufacturers on product storage guidelines, best-by-date and shelf-life.”