Here’s your chance to sound off on another consumer protection issue. In accordance with the CARD Act, today the Federal Reserve proposed new rules that would protect consumers from fees and expiration dates on gift cards, and they’ll soon be accepting comments on the rules.
Howcast has produced a quick video tutorial covering the basics of expiration and sell by dates. If you have questions about eggs, meat, canned goods, or storing things in the freezer, check it out.
CVS stores across the nation regularly stock expired medicine, milk, and baby formula, according to a damning union report. This isn’t the first time CVS has been caught stocking dangerous goods. Last year, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo threatened a suit after his office caught the pharmacy selling goods over a year past their expiration dates. CVS claims that, despite investing over $160 million in a “perpetual inventory management” system, it’s nearly impossible to keep expired items off the shelf because they simply have too much stuff.
One unexpected benefit of the CARD Act, if it passes the Senate vote, is that Senator Charles Schumer of New York has included a provision that prevents abusive gift card practices.
Chad, who sent this in, says he tried to decipher this Kool Aid‘s expiration date using the cheat sheet we posted last December, but nothing on this container matches the code format on the sheet. It can’t be that hard to print an unambiguous human readable expiration date on a product. Who else needs to read the date, other than a human? Why should the average consumer have to worry about deciphering a date? We thought we’d all pretty much agreed on some basic rules for how to keep track of the days.
See this gift card, the one that says “GIFT CARD” in big letters? Ticketmaster insists it’s really a “Discount Card,” and thus, not covered by the California law preventing gift cards from expiring.
Marketer: [gleam in her eye] …oh, I know how we can afford it. [cue evil laughter]
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.
Hey guys — Just wanted to let you know that with all of this grocery shrink ray action that is going on, it is nice to see some companies doing something to make their product last a little longer. The only question is…what kind of preservatives are in these Doritos so they will last until August 39th???
Reader Daniel wrote to tell us about his potentially unsafe purchase from a Safeway store in Daly City, California. When Daniel arrived at the checkout counter, he quickly checked the expiration dates on his Yves vegetarian sandwich meat only to discover that one of the packages had expired April 18th, 37 days ago, while the others had expired 4 days ago. He even took a hostage-style photograph with the expired product next to a stack of current day newspapers to help substantiate his claim. We would expect that when confronted with this information that a Safeway employee would promptly be instructed to scour the shelves as to prevent other hapless shoppers from buying the expired imitation meat, but apparently we expect too much. Daniel’s letter and photos, inside…
In the grand scheme of things to watch out for—heavy metals, date rape drugs, foreclosure—a jar of less-than-potent nutmeg might not seem like such a big deal. But most ground spices lose their potency after only six months, which means households all across the country are about to enter the most spice-centric time of the year with expired spices. Spice seller McCormick now offers a handy spice-dating service via its website, which is how one highly excitable reader discovered that her local supermarket was selling stuff that was 5 years old.
Consumer Affairs says bad makeup can harbor nasty bacteria, and can lead to such unpleasant face decorations as conjuctivitis or peri-oral dermatitis (little red bumps that look like acne). They suggest you tattoo permanent eyeliner and lipstick so you don’t have to worry about makeup. No, wait, that’s what we suggest. They actually suggest throwing out your eye makeup and liquid foundations after three months, powders after a year, and application sponges after a week. Oh, and smell your makeup: “An unusual odor usually means that it contains bacteria.”
- Dried pasta: 12 months
Beer — an alcoholic beverage brewed with hops, malt and barley; once referred to by Keats as “sweet liquid bread” — has a half life of about three months. Six months from the date of brewing, beer turns from inebriating mana into hobo swill. Then why is it that most American beers do not display their expiration dates, so consumer’s can pick the freshest brew possible? [More]