Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@. Skimlinks & other affiliated links are turned on

Search
  • FIRST POST
    EltonJohnFan
    0 WOW
    Is it illegal to sell out of date food?
    • #1
    • 30th Dec 10, 7:14 PM
    0 WOW
    Is it illegal to sell out of date food? 30th Dec 10 at 7:14 PM
    Good evening everyone,

    I'm been trying to find some information on whether it's illegal for a shop to sell out of date food because I've become aware that the local "Spar" in my community has a range of foodstuff that, in my opinion shouldn't be on sale because there are one or two items that are completely out of date and this has actually left me quite concerned. Whilst I was browsing through the shelfs for a few things today I noticed that the shop was selling chocolate chip muffins with a "best before date" of 19/12/2010 and this immediately caught my attention and so I then checked the bread and this wasn't so bad but was still out of date by a day or two. I also picked up a few packets of crisps and these again were out of date by a month or so but the very worst item was the Birds Eye Spaghetti Bolognese meal that I didn't actually check until I got home and was ready to put it in the oven but this item had a best before date of the 04/2010... surely this isn't right? I understand it's frozen food but even then I'd be wary of consuming something that's out of date by so much time. I wouldn't want to cause problems over nothing and I'll simply avoid this store in future but others might not be as lucky as myself and I feel compelled to bring this matter to the attention of the proper person who might be able to do something about this matter. When I took back the Spaghetti Bolognese meal the man merely shrugged his shoulders and said how did he know I'd bought it from there and that it could have been from any other shop, that he didn't sell out of date food. Take care everyone
    Last edited by MSE ForumTeam3; 31-12-2010 at 3:48 PM.
Page 2
  • sarahjayne1977
    As a manager in a well known brand and everything we sell has a best before/sell by date on..it is not againest the law but customer must be told its out of date..also i know if a item is sold which is past date its the manager who is fined not the store and it can be anything up to 20 thousand pound.
    I am shocked that a store manager who allow themselves to be open to such a large fine..i know personally i am very carefull with my dates, yeah odd time one may slip though to till but i would never allow myself or staff to sell close to or past date.
    I would personnally not let it go i would inform trading standards/environmental health..you might be able to see the dates yourself but from dealing with customers daily not all can see dates for example i have to write in marker for one old lady as she can't see dates well...how would you feel if a lil old lady bought something well out of date and ended up really ill
  • geordie joe
    As a manager in a well known brand and everything we sell has a best before/sell by date on..it is not againest the law but customer must be told its out of date..also i know if a item is sold which is past date its the manager who is fined not the store and it can be anything up to 20 thousand pound.
    Originally posted by sarahjayne1977
    So how does that work? It's not against the law to sell items past there date, but if you do you get fined!

    I'm pretty sure that if it's not against the law then the can't fine you for it.
  • sarahjayne1977
    So how does that work? It's not against the law to sell items past there date, but if you do you get fined!

    I'm pretty sure that if it's not against the law then the can't fine you for it.
    Originally posted by geordie joe
    what i meant was..if the customer is made aware of the prooduct been out of date then thats allowed personnally my company throws everything in the bin as soon as its past the sell or best before date but i few companys do sell past date but they make customer aware
  • rozmister
    I work for a leading supermarket (top 4) and we don't sell out of date products to the public generally. The only thing we do is maybe vitamins that are dated Dec in early Jan. We do sell some cans and packets of long life food to staff in a staff shop at much lower prices but these aren't available to customers and this is strictly enforced. Any out of date food found on the shop floor will be removed and destroyed! I can't believe a manager in Tesco (I don't work for them) wouldn't apologise and remove out of date products straight away it's appalling.

    From a legal point of view I know you can be prosecuted for selling out of date food because my local corner shop was. I was actually the one of triggered the whole thing although I didn't mean to get them prosecuted and fined I just wanted my money back! I bought a 5 months out of date bottle of diet coke on my way to work and when I put it in my mouth it was really disgusting. I'm very fragile in the morning (it's too early for me!!) so I was nearly sick and I keep it on my desk all day so I could take it back on my way home.

    When I went to complain the woman there refused to refund me the money or even acknowledge it had come from there despite me pointing out I'd checked the shelf on my way in and all the Diet Cokes in the fridge were out of date. I didn't have a receipt because they don't give them and the woman in the shop accused me of deliberately bringing out of date products into their shop to try and get a refund!! Like I'd go to that much trouble for 1. I told her I'd report her to Trading Standards, she said I wouldn't dare and I'm a stubborn one so I did. One investigation later the shop owner was fined just over 1000 for having out of date products on their shelves and trying to conceal this from customers (they'd peeled the date off things). I didn't mean to lose them 1000 over a 1 bottle of coke but if you don't run your business properly it's not my fault.
  • geordie joe
    what i meant was..if the customer is made aware of the prooduct been out of date then thats allowed
    Originally posted by sarahjayne1977
    But what do you mean by "Out of date" ?

    There are 3 "dates"

    "Best Before", "Sell by" and "Use By".
  • caroc
    Firstly Last January 2010 I bought some cheese in the co-op reduced to 50p (wensleydale with cranberries). About 8 packs. At home I checked the date but had to peel back the reduced sticker as it was covering the date. The use by date was 2 days previously which I thought was a bit cheeky, but tried it and it was good and kept and froze it. Since then I've bought a couple of things at the co, where they've suddenly said ' Oh you can't have this its out of date ' so the till flags it up and clearly the cheese barcode had been replaced for them to sell it past its date.

    Secondly, our local costcutter was prosecuted for selling out of date cheese years back and they were fined about 1500. They used to have a basket of OOD food for sale (as did a lot of places).
    Alcohol free since 4/1/15.
  • tealady
    There are two dates on food, use by and best before.
    The following has been taken from the Birmingham City Council website which may explain better than I can.

    "Use-by dates are put on foods which could cause food poisoning if eaten after that date for instance packets of ham, wrapped meat pies or packaged cheese.

    Best before dates are put on low risk foods such as bread, cakes, biscuits or tinned food.

    It is an offence to sell food which is past its use-by date, but it is not an offence to sell food beyond its best before date provided the food is still of reasonable quality."

    HTH
    Proud to be an MSE nerd
  • Daisygirl
    My local Co-op had some Cos lettuces reduced, so I bought some, well, tried to! They wouldn't sell it to me as it was out of date!!! {headdesk} lol.

    Seriously though, I think it's really bad that some shopkeepers and managers of supermarkets have such an attitude to their out of date food - what about the safety of their customers? I've noticed out of date food in Sainsbury's in the past, I haven't reported it in the past, but will do so now.
  • Snugglebunny8
    Really interested to read the legal info on this, as several times Ive noticed things out of date in my local Sainsburys which is a huge store. If there is a member of staff around I usually point it out to them, and they say 'thanks' and go and remove it, more often than not its bread so its the best before date, but couple of times it's been 'use by' ie eggs and ham.

    I know I wouldnt buy or use eggs or meat past the use by, but as somebody has said, what about elderly or frail people who dont see it, it could make them ill.

    I always burrow to the back of any display to get the best use by or best before date, so tend to notice if they are out of date at the front
  • cazispen
    I used to be an area manager for a company similar to spar, they shouldn't be selling food that is out of date like that, trading standards would def be interested. The following is the rues we went by and these were excepted by trading standards etc
    Use by, must be sold by that date and then binned
    best before you have a couple of days after the sell by to sell at a reduced price always making the customer aware that it is best before a certain date.
    July Wins
  • geordie joe
    I used to be an area manager for a company similar to spar, they shouldn't be selling food that is out of date like that,
    Originally posted by cazispen
    Out of date like what?

    We don't know what the dates were, they OP just said they were out of date and hasn't said if the dates were best before, use by or sell by.

    trading standards would def be interested.
    Originally posted by cazispen
    Being interested and being able to do something about it because its against the law are two different things.

    If the OP went to TS and said the shop was selling items 'out of date' the first question they would ask is 'what type of date?'.

    Notice how the Op decided to 'let it go' after being told it was not against the law to sell food past it's 'best before' date?

    What type of 'out of date' do you think the OP was talking about?

    The following is the rues we went by and these were excepted by trading standards etc
    Originally posted by cazispen
    But that doesn't mean your rules were the law, it means they were within the law. A bit like the speed limit being 30 mph and you driving at 29 mph. You could claim the police 'accept' you driving at 29 mph, but all it actually means is you are driving within the law.

    Use by, must be sold by that date and then binned
    Originally posted by cazispen
    NO, it means it must be sold by that date and NOT after that date. You can't actually sell something then bin it, but even if you could, the law just says you must not sell it after that date. What you do with it if you don't sell it is not covered in the food labelling laws.


    best before you have a couple of days after the sell by to sell at a reduced price always making the customer aware that it is best before a certain date.
    Originally posted by cazispen
    This is rubbish, there is no law against selling food after it's best before date. There is no law saying you have a couple of days to sell it. There is no law to say you have to make the customer aware of the date.

    If your company operated this rule then it is just that, a company rule. It would be a rule that is within the law, but it's not the law. The TS accept that your company has that rule because they can't do anything else. There is no law against selling stuff past it's 'best before' date, so if your company only sells it if it is a couple days past it's 'best before' date, what can they do?

    The best before date is just a guideline to let the consumer know that if they consume it after that date it may not be at it's best.
  • nesssie1702
    But what do you mean by "Out of date" ?

    There are 3 "dates"

    "Best Before", "Sell by" and "Use By".
    Originally posted by geordie joe

    According the the Food Labelling Regulations 1996, as amended there are two types of "indication of minimum durability"

    "Use By" - used on high risk foodstuffs

    "Best Before" - used as an indication of the quality of the food.

    It is illegal for a retailer to sell an item after the "use by" date displayed on it. Even if they were to give it away, they'd still be breaking the law.

    With a "best before" date, the retailer could be prosecuted if selling an item after the date, if the food is not of the nature, quality or substance demanded by the consumer.

    Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) also deal with this as well as Trading Standards, depending what part of the country you are in.
  • royalist
    Some people have the impression that there's a switch in the package and as soon as the expiry date is reached it instantly becomes unfit for consumption.In fact goods are dated on a "worst case" scenario , in most cases the item will be perfectly OK for a considerable period after the date.We survived perfectly well in the days before food was dated, we managed without fridges too and guess what-food poisoning was far less common then than now.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim's to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

3,834Posts Today

6,416Users online

Martin's Twitter