By B.N. Frank
No matter where you shop for food – it’s never a bad idea to check the expiration dates before buying it. This is obviously not an issue when buying food in person at a store.
A recent CNBC report is a good reminder to check any food items that are shipped to you from any vendor, but especially from Amazon.
In fact, after reading the first few paragraphs, you may feel compelled to immediately rummage through your pantry checking labels:
Amazon’s sprawling marketplace, consisting of millions of third-party sellers, has become a go-to site for many grocery shoppers, especially since the company’s acquisition of Whole Foods over two years ago.
But an increasing number of consumers are finding that, just as the broader Amazon Marketplace has a major issue with counterfeits and unsafe products, the grocery section is littered with similarly problematic items in the form of expired foods.
CNBC scanned the site’s Grocery & Gourmet category, finding customer complaints about expired hot sauce, beef jerky, granola bars, baby formula and baby food, as well as six-month-old Goldfish crackers and a 360-pack of coffee creamer that arrived with a “rancid smell.” A data analytics firm that specializes in the Amazon Marketplace recently analyzed the site’s 100 best-selling food products for CNBC and found that at least 40% of sellers had more than five customer complaints about expired goods.
Closeout sales and liquidation warehouses can be a hotbed for expired food that ends up on Amazon. In 2017, when Starbucks announced it was shuttering its Teavana locations, many sellers purchased discounted tea-related merchandise from the stores and resold it on Amazon. Today, you can find Teavana products such as rock sugar and fruit teas listed on Amazon even though they were discontinued two years ago.
An Amazon seller, who has sold sugar, spices and other food products on the site for the past nine years, told CNBC that Amazon didn’t respond to numerous inquiries about the out-of-date Teavana products.
Angie Atkinson of St. Louis was surprised in February when she received a box of Land O’ Lakes Half & Half creamers purchased on Amazon, and opened it to find that every carton was curdled. She looked at the use-by date and was “horrified” when she saw they were already expired.
“It didn’t occur to me that you could even sell something that was expired,” Atkinson said in an interview. “If I had bought it the first time and it was like that, I never would have bought it at all.”
“I’m leery now,” said Wilson, who lives in the Washington, D.C., area. “It wasn’t just a month, it was a whole year, which I thought was pretty extreme.”
Amazon said in a statement: “With the A-to-z Guarantee, customers are always protected whether they make a purchase from Amazon or a third-party seller.”
After CNBC brought a number of expired food products to Amazon’s attention, the company said it took corrective action to make sure the listings were in line with its standards. Amazon said they were isolated incidents that didn’t require enforcement action against the sellers or removal of any products.
[…]Sorscher of CSPI says Amazon’s technology is clearly coming up short.
More details are provided in the CNBC report – if you can stomach them.
Image credit: Pixabay
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