Have you ever returned home from the grocery, and pulled back the tab on a “fresh” cup of yogurt – or other item – to discover that your purchase was definitely expired? Of course, you have. It’s happened to everyone at one point or another.
The item doesn’t always have to have an overdue expiration date on it either. Sometimes, food products that should be good to eat, have a fuzzy, smelly, or otherwise rotten issue!
What do you do? Return to the store? Complain to the manufacturer? Or throw it away?
We encourage you to take the item back to the store and complain to the manufacturer. When you throw it away and don’t say anything at all, no one will ever know about the problem. Plus, you’ll be out some money.
Many grocery stores offer generous return policies for out-of-date items. Because grocery stores know that the legal ramifications of selling expired food are serious, they’re not going to give any customer a hard time about returns or exchanges.
Manufacturers tend to take expired goods even more seriously. Call or email the food product manufacturer about your story. You might even score some free products as a result!
If the issue is truly serious (and/or routine), you might even consider writing your local health department. If you’re interested in learning more about out-of-date food, see this USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service resource. Learn about everything from meat preparation to foodborne illnesses and diseases.
Think we’re taking this expiration issue too far? This article from ABC News acknowledges that some expired foods aren’t going to do any harm. But, when it comes to meat, dairy, and other animal products, expired food could have serious health consequences.
Expired food is serious. If you’re concerned about what risks are posed by expired food, then you should take extra cautions to educate yourself. Always check out labels when you shop. For more information about expired food, laws, and how to respond, check out this consumer law resource.
Also, don’t forget to file a complaint on Complaints List to warn others about grocery stores or food manufacturers that should be avoided.Back To All Consumer Resources