Impoverished and hungry Britons can’t get enough of Approved Food, a site that sells expired but still edible food for up to half off. Even after shutting down for two days to grapple with a ten-fold rise in traffic, the site warns that they still have to process 12 days worth of backorders. But can’t expired food give you salmonella or herpes, you ask? Nope! FDA regulations don’t require most foods to carry expiration dates, and selling expired food isn’t a violation of federal law.
[Approved Food founder Dan Cluderay] said the rise in sales was most pronounced since last September’s banking crisis.
While products past their best-before date might be past their prime, they are still safe to eat, the Food Standards Agency said.
A spokesman said: “Best before is an indication of quality rather than safety. Eating food past the best-before date does not necessarily put someone at risk from food poisoning.”
Mr Cluderay, who trained as a computer programmer, started his retail career with a cash and carry business before launching his online venture.
He buys his stock at knocked down prices from wholesalers, suppliers, and supermarkets, looking to get rid of food nearing the end of its shelf life.
There isn’t yet an American version of the site, but we we wouldn’t tease you with the not-yet-rotten splendors of the once upon a time empire if there wasn’t a broader lesson to learn.
For thrifty shoppers, expired food can represent an unrivaled bargaining opportunity. Some stores make it easy by discounting food on an expired food cart, but others make you work for your discount. If you find an expired item, don’t hesitate to hunt down a manager and directly ask for a discount.
As always, take commonsense precautions. Respect the dates on dairy and infant foods, and don’t argue if the product directs “Use By” instead of merely suggesting “Best By.”
If bucking the arbitrary dates printed on cans still churns your stomach, take some solace from the always comforting food safety professors over at BarfBlog, who ask: “what is the purpose of providing expiration dates? Perhaps they only serve to make good food affordable in tough economic times.”
Company selling food past its best-before date thrives in economic crisis [The Telegraph via BarfBlog]
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