I’ve bought food that’s out of date
With so much information being displayed on food labels it can be difficult to know what you should be looking for and what out of date food really means.
There are 4 different dates that can be found on food labels, sell by and display until dates are purely for use of the staff in store to keep track of stock rotation. The dates that you should look out for are best before and use by and its important to know the difference between them.
Best before – After the best before date food may start to lose some of its flavour or texture but may still be safe to eat. As long as the food is still safe to eat then it’s not offence for the trader to sell it, they should however make it clear that the best before date has passed.
Foods that will usually have a best before date include baked goods (bread), tinned and frozen food.
Use by – After its past it’s use by date the food can “go off” quickly and if eaten could cause you to become ill. As the foods could be unsafe, it’s an offence for a trader to sell food that’s past its use by date.
Foods that will usually have a use by date are those that contain meat and fish products.
Due to the safety issue, traders who sell food past their use by date should be reported to Trading Standards, you can find out how to do this here.
If you’ve bought food that was past its use by date then you’re entitled to return it to the trader for a full refund, its best to do this as soon as possible and to have you receipt with you to prove the date you bought it.
What should I do next?
If you haven’t already done so then you should try to speak with the trader about your problem to see if you can to come to an agreement. You can then follow this up with a more formal letter of complaint. It’s best to send this by signed for mail which will allow you to check that it’s been received, alternatively you could send an email with a read receipt. You should also give the trader a reasonable timescale to reply.