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Lidl & Aldi misleading "use-by" dates

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It has happened again, I have got home to find Lidl produce full of mould and sold to me past it's use by date (which is a criminal offence).

This would have been avoided had I been able to understand the "use-by" date on the product, however it is encrypted, maybe to mislead the consumer into buying expired, which is my feeling, as why else would they do it.

Section 12 of the DEFRA "Guidance on the application of date labels to food" (I can't post a link as the forum won't let me) clearly states that the use-by date should be:
As long as the date is shown in the order required by the FLR (i.e. day, month, year, as appropriate), there is no reason why different forms of expressing the date should not be used, provided it is given in a form which consumers are going to understand.

By using a cypher, this clearly breaks the law and Trading Standards should do something about this to protect consumers.
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  • VfM4meplse
    VfM4meplse Posts: 34,269 Forumite
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    How about complaining to Lidl directly?

    I think this is likely to be a store-specific problem, caused by poor stock rotation. A half-decent manager will be able to resolve this problem fast.
    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

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  • jplevene
    jplevene Posts: 20 Forumite
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    VfM4meplse wrote: »
    How about complaining to Lidl directly?

    I think this is likely to be a store-specific problem, caused by poor stock rotation. A half-decent manager will be able to resolve this problem fast.

    The ciphered "use-by" date is nationwide, I have seen it in stores all over the UK, also it was mentioned on TV. I have also ended up buying expired food from both Lidl and Aldi (thus I mentioned both) from all over the UK.
  • Shrimply
    Shrimply Posts: 869 Forumite
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    jplevene wrote: »
    It has happened again, I have got home to find Lidl produce full of mould and sold to me past it's use by date (which is a criminal offence).

    Maybe instead of looking for a use-by date you should have checked if the produce was mouldy or not.

    I'm pretty sure produce is not required to have a use-by date, therefore they aren't breaking any laws. None of the loose veg you buy anywhere has use-by dates.

    The dates on the packaging, are sell-by dates for their own use in stock rotation, they are not use-by dates which, on required products, obviously have to be clearly displayed.

    I don't have a problem with the system, it's one of the ways that they reduce waste by making it a bit harder for people to identify the most recent stock and therefore keep their prices down. If there is a stock rotation issue bring it up with the store. If you aren't happy with the system in general then shop at a different supermarket, where the increased waste from having dates on all the packaging is reflected in the price. If you want to beat the system figure out how the codes work, or take items from the cases at the back...
  • jplevene
    jplevene Posts: 20 Forumite
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    edited 30 May 2017 at 2:47PM
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    Shrimply wrote: »
    Maybe instead of looking for a use-by date you should have checked if the produce was mouldy or not.

    I'm pretty sure produce is not required to have a use-by date, therefore they aren't breaking any laws. None of the loose veg you buy anywhere has use-by dates.

    The dates on the packaging, are sell-by dates for their own use in stock rotation, they are not use-by dates which, on required products, obviously have to be clearly displayed.

    I don't have a problem with the system, it's one of the ways that they reduce waste by making it a bit harder for people to identify the most recent stock and therefore keep their prices down. If there is a stock rotation issue bring it up with the store. If you aren't happy with the system in general then shop at a different supermarket where the increased waste from having dates on all the packaging is reflected in the price. If you want to beat the system figure out how the codes work, or take items from the cases at the back...

    Products by law must have use by dates and the packet was sealed so I couldn't see the contents. Sell by dates are optional.

    The product I bought was full of black mould, had an older person bought it and not seen, it could have killed them. Expired food is a killer, thus selling food past sell by dates is illegal. If you don't have a problem, so be it, but others do, as does the law.
  • Shrimply
    Shrimply Posts: 869 Forumite
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    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/food-labelling-giving-food-information-to-consumers
    You don’t need to show a ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date, but you must include a lot number on:
    • fresh fruit and vegetables which haven’t been peeled, cut or similarly treated (except for sprouting seeds and similar products, like legume sprouts)
    • wines, liqueur wines, sparkling wines, aromatised wines and similar products made from fruit other than grapes
    • drinks made from fermented grapes or grape musts
    • drinks containing 10% or more alcohol by volume
    • baked or pastry goods which are normally consumed within 24 hours of being made
    • vinegar
    • cooking salt
    • solid sugar
    • confectionery made almost solely of flavoured or coloured sugars
    • chewing gums and similar chewing products
  • jplevene
    jplevene Posts: 20 Forumite
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    edited 30 May 2017 at 3:05PM
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    Go to "Guidance on the application of date labels to food" with a DEFRA link to the regulation that states the opposite. Yes it is contradictory to what the page said (welcome to government web pages).

    It is still a criminal offence to sell food past its sell by date, and I have experienced it at Lidl and Aldi numerous times now.

    Yes I do try to take from the back, but due to probably staff that don't care (and my surprise), most times the newer food is at the front!!
  • jon81uk
    jon81uk Posts: 3,790 Forumite
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    If it is produce such as fruit and veg it doesn't need a use-by date unless it is cut or peeled or treated.

    See Annex one in https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/69316/pb132629-food-date-labelling-110915.pdf this is DEFRA information book.

    So even if there is an internal display until code on the packet (for example a box of grapes or peaches) there doesn't need to be a use-by date for the customers information. If it is a cut fruit salad then they must be displaying a use-by date.

    Yes I agree it isn't good if Lidl are selling mouldy produce, but the problem is they are selling poor quality or food not fit for consumption. This issue has nothing to do with labelling.
  • alanq
    alanq Posts: 4,216 Forumite
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    I was looking at leeks in Aldi last week. They had a clear (best before?) date on them that was a few days later. However, the leaves were already extensively turning brown so I judged that I would have had to discard more than I was willing to do.
  • jplevene
    jplevene Posts: 20 Forumite
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    jon81uk wrote: »
    If it is produce such as fruit and veg it doesn't need a use-by date unless it is cut or peeled or treated.

    See Annex one in LINK this is DEFRA information book.

    So even if there is an internal display until code on the packet (for example a box of grapes or peaches) there doesn't need to be a use-by date for the customers information. If it is a cut fruit salad then they must be displaying a use-by date.

    Yes I agree it isn't good if Lidl are selling mouldy produce, but the problem is they are selling poor quality or food not fit for consumption. This issue has nothing to do with labelling.

    I didn't buy fruit or veg, however fruit and veg are the worse culprits. I once picked up a melon and as I picked it up my fingers sank through its skin into this brown sticky smelly goo. All the melons in the box were the same (it was the last box). I've had cheese that has stunk when I opened it, to find mould all over (not see through and it was not stinky bishop).

    The point is that encoding the dates misleads the consumers. I have found food past the sell by date in Tesco, but as I could read and understand the date, and told an assistant who immediately removed it.

    Before I even check the dates, I check the quality. Some things I purposely buy the oldest, like persimmons as they are riper, however Lidl and Aldi don't show these, so I get them from Morrissons who do.
  • Shrimply
    Shrimply Posts: 869 Forumite
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    jplevene wrote: »
    I didn't buy fruit or veg

    What did you buy?

    All the other products that I buy from Lidl have dates on them as far as I'm aware.
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