‘Expired’ and ‘best before’ explained

Sunday April 10, 2016 Written by Published in Health

While it is illegal to sell expired items at retail outlets in the Cook Islands, it’s important to note the difference between “expired” and “best before,” says Internal Affairs Secretary Bredina Drollet.


“You can continue to sell products beyond the ‘best buy’ date, which is about food quality,  but illegal to sell ‘expired’ products, which is about food safety.”

Under the Fair Trading Act 2008, businesses must ensure that consumers are fully informed about products that they are buying, Drollet said.

Under the  Act it is illegal for traders to mislead consumers and provide false information or use unfair trading practices.

“The Act applies to advertising and selling of foods and services by traders.

“You should seek legal advice from a lawyer who can advise you of your rights and the best way of enforcing them”, Drollet said.

She was commenting on fears expressed by a Rarotonga resident who told CI News last week he was concerned about expired products, damaged items, and unclear labels and in some cases, “foreign objects” in being found in products sold in some outlets.

The resident, who asked not to be named, said traders, particularly supermarkets and stores, should exercise responsibility and refrain from selling expired foods and perishable items.

He claimed some local businesses were tricking customers into purchasing defective, poor quality and expired goods.

“Sometimes no disclosure is provided by the salespersons and sometimes we’re sold items that are simply not fit for the purpose they were initially purchased for.”

Consumers living in the more remote islands faced a bigger risk, he said.

 “Consumers should be able to enjoy the advantages of discounts and specials without being tricked into buying expired products.”

The man advised others to be careful about the price and the quality of the products they bought.


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