Food reduced for quick sale often inedible

26th August 2009, Comments 2 comments

According to a study by the consumer rights organisation Test-Aankoop, 1 in 3 products reduced for quick sale because of a fast approaching use-by date is no longer edible.

The products often contain too much bacteria, and even mould or yeast.

"Price reduction for food that will expire soon is a good principle, especially during times of economic difficulty. But this does not apply for every kind of food product," said Test-Aankoop.

Inspectors for the consumer rights organisation bought 84 food items which were due to go out of date on the day. One in three products turned out to be unfit for human consumption because they contained too much bacteria, mould or yeast.

Many of the products also looked undesirable and had an unusual smell.

According to Test-Aankoop, manufacturers are often optimistic with the sell-by date of their products. The consumer rights organisation believes that the Belgian Food Safety Agency should carry out more inspections.

The 5 most dangerous products to buy from the ‘must-go’ shelf were revealed to be: pasta salads, pre-packed vegetables, fruit salads, meats (especially mince and chicken), and fish.

The least risky products were shown to be ready meals, pastries and salads with a mayonnaise base.

2 Comments To This Article

  • Natalie posted:

    on 26th August 2009, 10:11:26 - Reply

    I don't think its just 'must go' foods, I've had bad experiences here with food two weeks before its sell-by date. This must be a regular occurrence, the cashier didn't even blink when I brought back some tortillas which had turned green with mould, she just told me to go and change them.

    Refreshing, however, not to have the uproar, the pleading, the apologising and the suing that you might expect in the UK.
  • Matt posted:

    on 26th August 2009, 09:50:35 - Reply

    I think Test Achats have got a point. I've certainly noticed this problem here in Belgium more than some other countries. I had to return some particularly rancid chicken to Carrefour only a few weeks ago.