Can an expired product still be sold in stores?

Verified on 07/19/2023 by Alexane Flament, Editor
Un produit périmé peut-il encore être vendu en magasin ?

It’s not uncommon to stroll down supermarket aisles and find out-of-date products!

But, then, do distributors have the right to sell us products with expired dates? We take stock!

A little-known subtlety

 » Best-before dates apply only to prepackaged foods. If the best-before date (indicated by « use by… ») is exceeded, the distributor must remove the product from the shelf and destroy it, » explains 60 Millions de Consommateurs.

Whereas a date of minimum durability (DDM) often indicated by the words « best before… » can still be sold up to 3 months after the date!

« The date of minimum durability is an indicative date », reminds the Public Service. For some products, the MDD is not even mandatory (sugar, wine, vinegar, chewing gum, etc.).

The only drawback? The product risks losing its taste and nutritional qualities.

In short, distributors’ obligations depend on the type of best-before date: use-by date or minimum durability date.

Low-price unsold goods without health risks

A number of brands that fight food waste can even let you reclaim unsold supermarket produce at a low price!

This is the case for many stores and other anti-waste applications such as Too Good To Go!

« The store has the right to place products in the basket whose best-before date is very close (sometimes expiring the same evening), TooGoodToGo remains within the law. It can also contain aging fruit and vegetables and products with a possibly expired sell-by date, » explains 60 Millions de Consommateurs magazine.

« A product may be offered for sale with an expired DDM. This does not constitute an offence « , says the Public Service.

However, stores are forbidden to put products in baskets that have passed their sell-by date, or products that have been opened.

What should I do if a store sells products past their sell-by date?

« If you find products with an expired use-by date on the shelves of a supermarket, you can make a report on the official SignalConso platform, in the ‘Achat en magasin’ section, » explains the magazine.