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May 13, 2007 12:03 PM

Your advice-- should I eat this steak??

Yesterday, my husband was gardening in our front yard when a truck came to a screeching halt and two guys jumped out, and offered to sell him frozen steaks. Eventually, after a good bit of haggling, he bought four frozen T-bones for $20.

Should we eat them?

Here's the rest of the info-- they were solidly frozen, look fine, shrink wrapped, in a very professional looking four-color printed box, ie, look just like what you might get when you buy frozen food via your kid's school or some other fundraisng sale.

The truck was similarly professionally painted.

The two guys were decently dressed and looked like entrepreneurial types.

We live in an urban area, and my first thought was that perhaps these steaks had been stolen from somewhere, but I doubt that thieves would drive around in the original truck. My second thought was that it is some kind of thing like door-to-door magazine sales. Steak would be higher margin, and have the element of surprise. And it worked, my husband bought it, eh.

But then you would think it would be on the internet somewhere. Has anyone every heard of a company called Direct USA, or Protein Solution? I can find nothing.

So, I am not asking if you think these will be the best steaks I ever ate-- I doubt it-- only if you would actually eat them, now that they are sittingin the fridge (and assuming that they continue to look good as they thaw and are removed from their shrink wrap.)

Thanks for any thoughts!

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  1. We have many of those guys selling steaks around here- some look professional, some not. The steaks are always just fine to eat, but they usually aren't very good...

    1. Ummmm....what do you think might be wrong with them? (When we lived in Philadelphia and went to the Sunday flea markets in Cherry Hill - at the race track - there were often small trucks selling either frozen seafood or meats. Occasionally, we'd succumb. Can't recall ever getting ill, still here to tell the tale...not ever the "best" whatever, but...) It's just that there are so many more efficient ways of poisoning the populace than making them buy something from a passing vendor, it's hard to think what could be amiss with them providing they're not clearly spoiled or "off." (but I'm a bit of a trusting soul. I'm sure you'll hear from folks who wouldn't think of eating something from someone they weren't able to identify. On the other hand, those are the same folks who don't eat from vendor trucks in unfamiliar cities.)

      1. I know guys who do this, they just go to a normal wholesaler that restaurants buy from and pick up whatever's on sale. There's also a bigger company around here that hires people to work on commission, sounds like what you got. Nothing to worry about, healthwise.

        2 Replies
        1. re: coll

          It's fine to eat. Those steak trucks are the equivalent of those white-van speaker guys. They come around selling perfectly normal, low-quality product with no accountability or return policy, hoping that consumers will pay a higher-than-fair price because those consumers suspect they're getting a good deal on gray-market product. In the case of the white van speakers, the mark hopes he's buying stolen merchandise without having to admit that this is the case, and with the steaks, perhaps he hopes they've been lifted from a supermarket or restaurant.

          1. re: Luther

            I see those guys all the time, they always have a story about how they bought too much of the stuff and do not want to let it go to waste. I think it is a way to supplement their salaries and that those steaks are probably missing from someone inventory but they are perfectly safe to eat.

        2. You really bought FOOD from a van that stopped right in front of your front lawn ?

          I'm naive and open minded but I will never do that.

          it reminds me of all the white van loud-speaker scams; same deal, some guys in white vans stopped at street corners and tried to sell you, what looked nice on paper, speakers really cheap, but were worth nothing.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Maximilien

            Well, these things are relative, aren't they? I mean, we feel pretty comfortable buying ice cream from a drive by truck. In Japan, I happily buy ramen or tofu from a truck driving by....the steaks - since they're already purchased, thaw one or two, give it a GOOD sniff, and if that doesn't seem rotten or weird, cook it and judge it on its merits. I mean, a steak's a slab o' muscle, not ground up snout or sphincter, it's a slice of something mammalian, so atop the food chain, we'll probably like it if it's not rotten and it probably won't harbor ecoli. Ya bought it, it was alive before, it's yours now, you should eat it unless there's a good, obvious reason not to.

          2. The same thing happened to me about a year ago. I live in Houston, Tx, on a busy street, and was going to my car when this guy ran over and asked if I wanted to buy a box of steak. I got my SO out of the house and we checked it out. His truck was around the corner and had the name of the company on it, and he had a brochure with the address on it, which was in the area. We bought a variety box, ate all of it and there was nothing wrong with any of it. So go for it! If you look at the package and see holes or some other signs of tampering, throw it away, but other than that I would eat the steaks. Ours weren't the best quality you can buy, but for the amount we spent they were just dandy.