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Six myths about the sale of expired products

21 October 2012 / 13:10:59  GRReporter
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The management of the Ministry of Development introduced the new Regulation about the distribution and marketing of products and provision of services. It pertains to the companies' obligations which will replace the old market rules. There is a special article about products with expired date of maximum storage.

The first myth is that this regulation is new. In fact, the old rules of 20 years ago also include such a regulation. The new regulation stipulates that these products will be sold at reduced prices. This was not settled in the old rules, which didn't determine the pricing policy and even allowed the sale of expired products at higher prices.

The second myth is that it is allowed to sell all expired products. Both the old and the new rules do not permit the sale of perishable food products such as milk, fresh meat, yogurt, fish, etc., i.e. all products considered by the law as likely to cause damage to the consumer's health. This way the article excludes food products with a final date of use marked on their packaging.

From here comes the myth that such perishable foods will be sold after the expiration date. The truth is that such sale is permitted for foods which do not spoil. These include bakery products, dried foods, rice, beer, legumes, soft drinks, etc. According to the international and national regulations, they may spoil due to storage and selling conditions, rather than during manufacturing. Their packaging bears a "Best By" mark - a recommended date for best flavour or quality, which is not a purchase or safety date. One way or another, the majority of consumers keep long forgotten foods in their cupboards, which they later use, but with no risk to their health.

The fourth myth is that these food products will be sold in stores without any special symbol. According to Article 5, however, and according to the old rules, the display of products with expired date, and such identified as perishable, is allowed provided that they are sold separately from other food and with a sign marked with capital letters "Food after the expiry date".

The fifth myth is that durable food products will be sold without an indication of the expiry date. The truth is that the law is clear: such products with expired date cannot be sold after the final deadline. For example, goods with expiration marked by a specific date can be sold a maximum a week after this date. Products with expiration marked by a month and a year can be sold not later than a month after this date. Products with expiration marked by a year can be sold three months after their expiration.

In these cases, the seller bears the exclusive responsibility for the condition of the products, as stated both by the new and the old law.

The sixth myth is that expired food will be offered by restaurants, taverns and other eateries. The truth is that both the old and the new rules state that the use of such products in restaurants is prohibited. Changing the expiry date in any way by anyone is also prohibited.

In the European Union, the provisions are different. In Portugal, Denmark, Belgium and Austria expired products are sold under a special regime, that is, they can be sold even after the date of expiration. In Slovenia, Germany, Sweden, Poland and Spain expired products can only be sold to the needy - foundations, poor families and others. The rules in the UK are the same as in Greece.

The aim of the new provision is to put pressure on companies in order to offer discounts on these products not only when the date has already expired, but even in cases when the product is close to its expiry date.

Tags: food expired date provisions
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