General Question

tscoyk's avatar

Is it legal to sell expired food?

Asked by tscoyk (187points) September 11th, 2008

Does anyone know of any laws concerning the sale of food past the “use by” or “sell by” dates?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

14 Answers

MrMontpetit's avatar

Why? Do you have some rotten food for sale? 911

Harp's avatar

According to, the expiration dates are strictly advisory, and not legally binding. Manufacturers aren’t even required to use them.

tonedef's avatar

My local convenience store certainly doesn’t seem too concerned with them. It’s odd that there isn’t any legislation on this matter… it seems like it could pose a serious health risk.

Emilyy's avatar

Isn’t it sort of like “buyer beware”? I mean, the date is printed right there on the label. If you buy it past the appropriate date, it’s your choice to do so.

girlofscience's avatar

Hmm… Maybe opening Expired Food Grocery Store is a good idea. You could probably get all of it for free (as there are probably many stores that simply discard their expired products) and then sell it for cheap, still making a profit. If I were an entrepreneur, I would do it! No deception involved. The store would be called Expired.

MrMontpetit's avatar

The store should be called Our food might kill you.

ezraglenn's avatar

Actually those “sell by” dates on food mean very little. There was a story on This American Life a few weeks back about a family who lived off of free discarded (but still absolutely fine) food from supermarkets and stuff. A lot of places just put everything out back for people to take.

osullivanbr's avatar

Emily is spot on. The date is printed right there for you to read. Regardless though, it is purely a guideline. I have eaten and drank things that were beyond their date of death from time to time, and I never had any bad experiences.

tscoyk's avatar

I had an old bag of Cheetos from a vending machine. Read the date, ate them anyway. Pretty tasty!

tellelefler's avatar

Actually, in many cases, companies use special codes on their boxes in lieu of the consumer-friendly sell by dates. So its not always as simple as looking at the date on the box. I used to work in foods and had a fat book of all the codes and how to decipher them. And unfortunately, with the company I worked for, policy was to just chuck everything out when its date came up. It was horrible.

Leafgreen's avatar

For tonedef: “it seems like…” Oh, glad your feelings are so clear. But the fact is that I eat expired foods in my cabinets all the time. It seems like I’m healthier because of it. :P

sonataking05's avatar

I suppose most foods are OK for a certain period of time past their implied expiration date but some foods can be dangerous if saved for too long. Things that contain powered milk product can (IE) cake and brownie mixes can go bad, also others that contain dry yeast that are stored in boxes with no barrier from outside moisture also go bad. Canned good are the safest in the eat for as long as you want sort of expired treats as long as they’re not dented or bulging (Botulism=BAD)

jarogers80's avatar

I think it depends on the type of food that is sold. For instance, expired meat could cause serious health issues, but expired cereal would be fine as long as it’s stored correctly.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther