Greensboro, N.C. --There's a reasonable expectation when you go to the grocery or convenience store. The expectation is, the food is safe and good to eat. You might say, the expectation is that the food is within its expiration date. But that's not what the law says.
A 2WTK viewer emailed us about expired foods at her local convenience store. We checked the store on Randleman Road out and found a bag of Chex Mix with an expiration date of March 2011.
That's not all. Sunflower seeds with a 2011 date, a bag of Churritos May 15 2013, Lays Potato Chips July 2, 2013.
A quick call to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and we found out selling expired items isn't illegal in North Carolina.
The only two items you can't sell expired are baby formula and over the counter drugs. Yes, that means dairy, meat, eggs and the snacks we found can in fact be sold past their expiration date.
Some states do have laws against it, but North Carolina doesn't. The question we're all asking right now is, why not?
Joe Rearson, the Asst. Commissioner for Consumer Protection says, "We haven't had a public health concern that is tied to an expiration date, in many cases the date you have is still a safe food even though that extends beyond the date. But it doesn't say it is marginalized or can't be it utilized."
The Department of Agriculture does inspect stores, including convenience stores. If they find expired items, they only take action against the store if the items have mold on them, appear to have lost their vacuum packing or look as if they could be contaminated.
The big take away here for you, is buyer beware. It is your responsibility to look at the dates and then decide if you're willing to buy.