The Prices and Consumer Affairs Division is warning traders that they can be held accountable for any illness experienced by a consumer who purchases expired food items.
Therefore, traders are warned not to sell food items after the sell-by date, since this poses a health risk for which they will be liable.
Consumers are also advised to pay attention to expiry dates.
On occasion, some traders will reduce the prices on items that will be expiring shortly – or even after they have expired for a few days.
However, the Division continues to caution consumers that the date on which a good expires should never be taken lightly. “An item should always be used before its expiration date as its safety cannot be guaranteed after this date,” the Division says.
Additionally, it warns that consumption of expired food items may result in food poisoning and this could be fatal.
The Division says the shelf life – or the length of time packaged foods will last without deterioration – is very important to know, especially if persons are stock-piling. A product that has passed its shelf life might still be safe, but the quality is no longer guaranteed.
“Consideration should also be given to Use by/Best if used by/Best before dates,” which is information from the manufacturer on the product’s optimal quality, a notice from the Division advises.
Officials say that sell-by dates are “typically found on perishables like meat, poultry and milk, and are guides for stores to know how long they can keep an item on display.”
The Division says that goods, especially food items, should not be offered for sale after their sell-by dates have passed.