The downside of online grocery shopping: 'You can't check all the sell-by dates'
While ordering groceries online can be safer and more convenient, consumer journalist Wendy Knowler says there's a downside.
Online shoppers are unable to check the sell-by dates and best-before dates on the food items that they purchase.
A number of CapeTalk listeners have complained about receiving online grocery orders containing food that has "expired".
Knowler explains that consumers must make an important distinction between the different dates that appear on their groceries to avoid confusion and food wastage.
Best-before dates are placed on foods that have a longer shelf life, such as canned food, rice, cereal, pasta, sauces, coffee, and biscuits.
Eating food that has passed its best-before date is still safe, however, the taste and quality may be different.
"It is not illegal to sell goods the are past their best-before dates", Knowler explains.
Sell-by dates are used by retailers for internal stock control. This date refers to a product's shelf life in-store.
Retailers can legally sell food on the day of the listed sell-by date, says Knowler. It also still acceptable to eat the food on that date.
A use-by date on grocery items is about food safety. It can often be found on food that has a shorter shelf life, such as dairy goods, fresh produce, meat products, or ready-to-eat salads.
It is illegal for retailers to sell food that has passed its use-by date, Knowler adds.
A lot of people are getting food on the sell-by date, which is perfectly safe and legal... but to them [they see it as] an expiry date.Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist
People just read all the dates as the 'expiry date'.Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist
That's the downside of online [shopping], you can't check all the dates or forage around in the fridge.Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist
Food that's being delivered or on sale on the sell-by date is not necessarily a problem... You might have got a sell-by date of a day or two later if you pick it out yourself.Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist
It's the use-by date on perishable items that's [critical]... It's not illegal to sell goods the are past their best-before dates... It's only illegal to sell foods past their use-by dates because that is a food safety issue. Best-before dates is a food quality issue.Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist
Knowler talks a range of consumer issues during her weekly ConsumerTalk feature on CapeTalk.
Listen to the ConsumerTalk segment on Lunch with Pippa Hudson:
Source : https://www.123rf.com/stock-photo/grocery_shopping.html?sti=lwwi8l41opxwgon888|&mediapopup=80342773
Impersonation fraud has increased by a massive 337%. Consumers have been warned to protect their personal information.Read More
Lay-by allows you to choose an item and then pay it off every month, interest-free, explains consumer journalist Wendy Knowler.Read More
A financial expert has warned locals not to fall for a pyramid scheme known as Divine Prosperity Blossom that has sprung up in Cape Town.Read More
Heather John says she was not paid for a guest booking at her holiday apartment but MD apologises and she has now been paid.Read More
ConsumerTalk consumer journalist Wendy Knowler says the 'basket of goods' comparison has a number of flaws.Read More
If your phone gets stolen, call your bank right away. Your accounts can be raided.Read More
A Cape Town woman has been left with serious lung damage after her ozone therapy session went wrong. A medical doctor weighs in.Read More
Unwanted charges on your cell bill? Struggling to unsubscribe from rogue content services that you never signed up for? Here's what you can do.Read More
Hand sanitiser has become a highly sought-after product amid the coronavirus pandemic. But are all of them effective? Wendy Knowler investigates.Read More
Wendy Knowler, Consumer Ninja, investigates non-payment of business interruption claims during the Covid-19 lockdown.Read More