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So I took the pukey-tasting burrata back to Balducci’s yesterday morning and talked to a nice woman at the customer service counter. When I showed her the date on the label, she frowned and pointed out that there was another label on the tub, one stamped by Balducci’s itself. It said 2/6/2010.

She went back and had a brief consultation with the staff at the cheese counter. When she returned, she said the 21/1/10 date “was just the date when they [“they,” I guess, meaning the Italian cheesemakers?] put it in.” The 2/6 sell-by date was accurate, she said. Still, she added, Balducci’s would be happy to refund my money anyway.

I’m not sure what the “put it in” date means. But Balducci’s cheese people apparently think it’s fine for burrata to be sold by 2/6, a full 17 days after the cheesemaker, at the very least, packaged it. (Technically, I should note, the Italian description on the tub said it should be consumed by 1/21/10.)

I said, “It tasted very bad. Sour.” (I did not make any vomit comparisons, but really, that’s what the taste reminded me of. Anyone who’s accidentally sipped sour milk knows what I’m talking about.)

Then I tried to explain the nature of burrata and pointed out there were other, similarly dated tubs on the shelf. There would likely be other complaints unless they pulled them, but by that point, she was busy pushing the necessary refund forms toward me.

Caveat emptor: Read the small print or end up with barfalo mozz.